A couple of things: Bucky was certainly correct, lo, these many years ago, in pointing out the main problem: the glaring discrepancies between the geography of The Hobbit and LOTR. However, he made a mistake here: The Hobbit states clearly: In the Lone-lands they had been obliged to camp when they could, but at least it had been dry. That's from the 1966 Longmans/Unwin edition. Douglas Anderson notes that the 1966 Ballantine edition inadvertently omitted "been obliged to" from the text. Which brings up another, if minor, point: the quote from Ardamir of Blessed Memory about the "wild respectable country" never made sense to me, and for a reason -- "wild" was a typo for "wide" which crept into the 1966 American printings, and annoyingly enough, went uncorrected for decades (this was always the first thing I checked, whenever a new edition came out, to see whether it was really "new" or not). Anyway, Fonstad went so far as to draw two alternate maps, to try to resolve the discrepancies, but concluded that neither they, nor Tolkien's various revisions, could ultimately solve the problem: compared to Frodo & Company, the Dwarves were "moving at a snail's pace". Tolkien seems to have envisioned the "hobbit-lands" as extending far to the east of what was later to become the Shire. Nevertheless, Halasian's comments from eight years ago are still valid: the very discrepancies and ambiguous hints in the books ("There were probably many more Outsiders scattered about in the West of the World in those days than the people of the Shire imagined") open possibilities for a wide variety of speculations, fan-fic, role-play, and of course, video games. Interesting post on LOTRO, Daerndir -- and welcome to the forum! In connection to the Lone-lands, you may find this note in The Annotated Hobbit of interest: In introducing the name Lone-lands into the 1966 edition of The Hobbit, Tolkien was providing a linguistic equivalent of the Sindarin Elvish name Eriador ("wilderness"), which in The Lord of the Rings refers to the vast lands between the to the west and the Misty Mountains to the east. The Shire, where the Hobbits dwell, lies near its center. Apparently, the Sindarin looked at them as being much more "lonely" than Hobbits would have! In any case, a landscape of small communities and groups of various peoples fighting orcs and monsters makes for a more interesting game than one almost entirely empty and deserted. I'm reminded of the old MERP system from the 80's, which went to similar lengths in "filling in the blanks" of Tolkien's world, in the course of creating new adventures. Nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as it's clearly differentiated from the "real" Tolkien. I still sort of regret not getting into that, or at least buying some of the modules (try finding them now!), but at least we have the nice artwork they commissioned from Angus McBride, and that's a good legacy to have.