Thanks for your reply. My old campaign I ran from 2006-08 took place in the 20th century of the Third Age. It was centered along the Anduin vales in the space between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains. I had characters from all over the place and I spend a great deal of time running solo-campaigns of say 4-6 sessions to get each players character into position to meet and tie in with the rest of the players. All the heavy lifting GM wise was done during this time and after I had detailed tapestry of ground work, backgrounds and storied developed for every player, weaving them together into a campaign fabric was rather easy and the nearly 3 year campaign ran itself.
It ended in 1974 in the TA, in Arnor where the players were swept up in the war against Angmar that brought down the north kingdom of Arnor that year. In RM terms the PC’s started at level 1, and most were between level 10 and 12. In the end the story unfolds as the histories tell, Arnor was destroyed and the heirlooms of the north kingdom lost along with their king. The players were part of that end, in that the king escaped the siege of Fornost and fled north-west in an attempt to reach safety. He was betrayed by a player who had succumbed to a lessor ring of power he had acquired over a year prior while in Maethelburg east of the Misty Mountains. This led the Witch King and his companion hosts into the valley where the kings entourage and escorts were camped. One PC died, two escaped and the traitor with the lessor ring, was taken in as a apprentice/slave of the Witch King and his character became evil.
I stopped running the game after the two survivors made it to one of the royal Dunedain family fortresses south west of Annuminas, an area that had not seen the ravages of the Witch Kings army. That was the last session and it’s been 12 years now.
After running in my home world the last three years they all want to return to Middle Earth. I’m torn as to when/where a new campaign will take place. I had some intuitions on going back to the mid second age, when the war of the elves and Sauron was raging and the first rings of power were starting to get handed out to kings of men. Numenor had colonies and establishments all along the coast line and it was my thought that the players would be operating out of a Numenorian settlement/principality, perhaps even under the jurisdiction of one of the great Black Numenorian lords, one who would be offered a ring of power at some point, but who was still an ambitious man seeking power. I’m a bit afraid of delving back deeper into Middle Earth because the power curve is crazy high and there is also much much more wilderness, but the potential is grand.
The second option was to gen up new characters and put them in a destroyed Arnor or close by and have them play through the events that end up with the Witch King being driven from the north the following year by a combined host of elves and Gondor that sail into the Grey Havens.
The third option… I’m not sure but I’m looking at everything area wise and time wise to fit players in where there is a lot of evil to deal with.