It seems to me that most fans of Lord of the Rings tend to stick to strict categories when playing characters within this setting, and always with the same kind of affiliation, Orcs are bad, humans are good.
I am not surprised therefore, that such rigidity takes away the fun, the space for growing and exploring which I expect from my role play campaigns. For myself, I don’t play standard characters too often, what would be the point?
Instead, I work within the world established by Tolkien but push the boundaries as much as I can, because there is a lot of unknowns still, a lot to work with and develop, if people don’t get stuck in “the author wrote it so it must be universally true,” ad idea rejected by a school of literary criticism generations before ours.
The bottom line: no RP world is dead, only the imagination that fuels it can be slowly killing itself. I say, venture out, and make Orcs with questionable motifs, additional races that have no right to exist in this world, different magical rules and history that only at times coincides with the established one. I certainly have, and never looked back myself.
Note: The featured image is rather reminiscent of one unusual character I have been working with.
Feel free to just read the post and ignore all else, but if you are as much of a LOTR fan as we are, you might also find the following LOTR One Ring youtube video to be fun: