If you guys play wc3, or want more ideas, you can download the custom map Ring Wars from epicwar.com. This map of 3rd age is awesome because it has all the races, heroes of 3rd age. And each faction has bonuses depend on their locations. And if for example forces of evil kill Mirkwood, then that place become corrupted and spawn spiders for Saurons. Or if Khazad-dum is razed then the Dwarves reclaimed their city and land. etc
Also 1 more unique mechanic in that map is that if Denethor, Gollum, Galadriel, or Saruman kill Frodo and gain the ring, they will betray their force of good/force of evil team and become independent race. If the ring reaches Mt. Doom then Sauron faction and the cities Baradur, Minas Morgul die permanently. If the ring is fallen into evil heroes and brought back to Baradur, Sauron hero is revived. etc. FUN MAP!!
Anyway, I think the cloth map mode would fit LOTR map perfectly. I think the only NPC's the mod should have is bandits/pirates and weak monsters here and there. I propose these races for the mod:
Force of Good:
1/ Hobbits and Rangers of the North. Ents of Fangorn
Main cities: Bree, Shire, Hobbiton, Fornost, Entmoot.
Traits: Bonus food a lot of population. Weak warrior skills. Rangers of Fornost can be special units. Ents are strong heavy hitters, fire weakness. Earth magic bonus.
2/ Elven force of Mithlond, Rivendell, Mirkwood, and Lothlorien
Main cities: Grey Havens, Rivendell, Thranduil Caverns, Lothlorien. That's it really there aren't many elves left in Middle Earth.
Traits: Bonus intelligence. rely on life and the 4 elemental magics, but not too specialized on any of them much. Cirdan - fire. Elrond - water. Thranduil - earth. Galadriel - air. Conceal bonus, some magic fortification bonus. Improved accuracy, swift movement in forest.
3/ Dwarves and Men of Dale
Main cities: Erebor, Iron Hills, Dale, Esragoth, Blue Mountain
Traits: Mining (lol duh). Hardened warriors bonus. Merchants, more gold coming in from population and trading.
Main cities: Edoras, Helm's Deep, Dunharrow
Traits: Cavalry, fast units on plains. Raiding? These guys will fight Saruman mostly.
Main cities: Minas Tirith, Osgiliath, Pelagir, Dol Amroth, Linhir, special hidden base at Emyn Arnen
Traits: Ultimate warriors. Siege constructs and fortification bonuses. Diplomacy good? Ships are strong to fight Corsairs. Far-sight(since Denethor has a Palatir)
6/Fellowship of the Ring
No cities. Special faction here. Control all major heroes in the fellowship. Events trigger where they go I guess. Gain more power as they progress toward Baradur. Since Gandalf is only spellcaster and he wields ring of fire and is an Istari, I guess this race use life and fire mostly.