It is the year 141, in the Fourth Age. The great King Elessar has been dead for some twenty-one years. Not long after he laid down his life, however, whispers spread that the land of Valinor was vulnerable. To this day, it is not known whence they came, but some listened to these whispers, and spoke of war against the Valar. Eldarion, King of Gondor and son of Elessar, did not wish to go to war, but his voice was drowned out by the common people. The fact that Valinor had long been held outside the normal world was no deterrent to the warmongers, unfortunately. Within fifteen years, almost all of Gondor and Arnor were ready and willing to fight the Valar. However, before they could set sail, a massive plague struck the eastern lands, wiping almost all the lands east of Mordor clean, and driving the survivors westwards. A great war quickly began between Gondor and the Easterlings, and it took four years to drive them back, where the few men remaining in the East began to repopulate the distant lands.
At this time, a man known only as Alatar arrived in Minas Tirith, warning of a greater war to come against dark enemies. Few heeded his warning, though, and continued preparations for the great war against the Valar. Eldarion, however, accepted his counsel and refortified the long-deserted Orthanc, as well as Minas Tirith. He planned to rebuild Minas Ithil as well in the passes of Mordor, but catastrophe struck before he could begin, and the skies grew dark.
Unknown to those in Middle-Earth, Melkor, the Lord of Darkness, had broken the Doors of Night, and destroyed the Sun and Moon. Anar fell far to the south, where few lived, but Isil crashed into the midst of Arnor, causing massive destruction that laid much of the country to waste, including the Shire and Fornost. A great mountain range formed from the cataclysm, made of most of the lands of Arnor, driven up far above the height of even the White Mountains, too tall for even eagles to fly over. This catastrophe forced Valinor back into the world after having been long hidden from those in Middle-Earth, making the idea of war against the Valar a real possibility. What came next, however, was something astonishing.
The lands of Beleriand, long thought to be lost under the waters of great Belegaer, were brought up by the destruction of Isil. Although Amon Sul withstood the disaster and still held many people, most of the surviving people of Arnor migrated to Beleriand, where they rebuilt Nargothrond within one year. The hidden city of Gondolin was also set to be remade, but it was only partially completed when the ongoing preparations against the Valar were diverted.
Sauron's spirit had lingered in the world since the One Ring was destroyed, too weak to do anything. When Melkor broke the Doors of Night, however, he gave power to Sauron, who returned to Middle-Earth to make war upon Gondor once more. Moria had long since been cleansed and rebuilt into Khazad-Dum once more by the Dwarves, but they had abandoned Erebor and the Iron Hills when the plague struck. The Caves of Aglarond, however, formerly under the rule of Gimli the Elf-Friend, prospered from their trade with Rohan and Gondor. Mount Gundabad, which was never subdued completely, made war upon the remnants of Arnor when Melkor returned. Gilthrang, the Ainur who had helped Melkor break the Doors of Night, took over the wreckage of Angband, which had also been brought up from the waters.
During all of this, the Valar had done little, but when Ungoliant, who had been thought dead, came to Avathar with a horde of spiders, and Shelob somehow came to Araman, they quickly mobilized the Elves and Maiar for battle once more. A bitter war started, but the Valar knew what had truly happened. The Dagor Dagorath, the Final Battle, had come at last. . . .
In any case, this LotR map is highly hero-focused, meaning that it's extremely easy to tip the balance of power. One hero dying at the wrong time might be enough to turn the tide towards one side or another. Major heroes have multiple abilities, many of which can devastate armies with proper usage, while minor heroes have one or no abilities, but the minor heroes can reach incredible strength in the most straightforward sense: pure firepower.
There are three teams in this map (Valinor, Humans, and Evil), but initially the Valar and Humans have to join up against the forces of Evil. If those forces are losing badly, however, then the alliance will swiftly fall apart, leading to a full-on three-way war. To help tip the balance in your favour again if your team is losing, there are a number of findable heroes, and even the Silmarils of Feanor are present, if you can uncover them.
You upgrade individual bases, so you have multiple options in the early stages of the game. Later on, heroes can pull off great feats, such as rushing bases, or even teleporting directly into them with a handful of allies! If anyone has an idea for this map, feel free to post it here! If you want to play this, but can't find the players for it, or just have no idea how to play, try the channel (lotr), as many very skilled LotR-ish players are there.