I listed Horror, Planetary Romance, and Historical as my choices from the Western category of my new idea; the Genre Tree.
I would instruct the game group to chose one of these three to further define their Western choice for our new campaign. Once they have discussed, and have made their choice I would give relevant background information to aid the players in character creation, and let them at it!
For Western this information would consist of the time period they find themselves in, and their initial jobs, or roles in society. This would all be prompted by a roll on the Detail Table for the sub genre they have chosen.
Here is the full Genre Tree with the Western, Horror branch expanded in detail;
|This is when I would add a random element. This is when I would let fate decide our characters embarkation point into the game world. A 1d4 would be rolled for the top row, and then, if needed, an additional roll to establish the final option from the ones I've listed.|
In the case of Horror the players will end up in one of seven possible plot lines. Each separate plot line would have an initial situation the players would find themselves in, and hopefully everyone is sufficiently invested at this point to easily start playing off the material offered. For example;
The indian burial site;
You are part of a survey team looking to stake a lucrative claim. Coming across an ancient burial site you trigger the wrath of a bloodthirsty indian tribe. Your party will have to survive their onslaught. Inspiration; the films Valhalla Rising, Pumpkinhead.
The "tragic" accident;
While apprehending an indian accused of horse stealing the brave is shot dead. The son of the tribe's shaman, the grief stricken mystic unleashes terrible forces in which to exact revenge. Inspiration; the film Pumpkinhead.
Of course any of these initial embarkation points do not need to be created out of whole cloth, neither do they need to all be original. I have Chaosium's The Great Old Ones, and the adventure "The Spawn" could be easily hacked to take place in the 1860's instead of the 1920's. To further enhance the horror aspect make the characters company men sent to Coopertown to end the labor unrest, and find out why the Beasleys are allowing the quotas to slip. This adventure would also find itself used as presented as one of my "Hard Boiled" Espionage adventure choices with the players unaware of the underlying Cthulhu elements. This helps pare down the prep work this approach demands of the GM.