"Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Númenor and the gleaming cities, and the years of the Fourth Age, there was an Age undreamed of, when realms of Man lay spread across the world alongside those of fey Elves and sullen Dwarves like blue mantles beneath the stars. . . Hither came Aragorn of the Dúnedain, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a ranger, a wanderer, a chieftain, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the thrones of Arda under his feet."
- The Red Book of Westmarch
From Trey's "Pulpify Middle-earth" project. What a great idea for an alternate take on the venerable setting! Why didn't I ever think of that? I don't want to step on his toes, but I might play around (very briefly) with the idea myself. I'm tempted to do a more thorough remixing than it looks like he's doing, though. Replace elves and dwarves with some less mythic races, replace orcs with man-apes, etc. The Necromancer is truly a Necromancer, not a minor fallen pagan god, etc.
I might even develop the idea towards actually being played, setting the game somewhere in the time between Sauron's loss of the Ring and Gollum's finding of it. Once, long ago, I had mapped out several potential very specific eras (from a review of the chronology at the end of Return of the King) but I have no idea what I've done with that over the years, so I'll probably have to do it all anew.