I had read much earlier that The Hobbit was going to be filmed in two movies, but it was only recently I read a rumor that was printed back in 2008 that the first movie would follow the book while the second would be an invented sequel bridging the Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings. This was pretty exciting for me, whether it's true or not, because I've long thought that if I ever get around to running a Middle Earth campaign (I know, what's wrong with me that I haven't done it yet?) that's exactly what I would want my campaign to be like.
So, with that in mind, I started looking at The Hobbit again and took some notes.
1. Rule #1: no established characters from The Hobbit. Use cousins of Bilbo and the dwarves, or even a not-totally-evil-yet Saruman, but everyone from The Hobbit remains off-stage.
2. Do any Tooks still consort with fairies, like a Took ancestor was rumored to have done?
3. What was the Old Took's business that kept him away from home so long?
4. Where does their tobacco come from? Is it a deadly carcinogen, or the more harmless "pipe-weed" I see in many D&D campaigns?
5. What happened to Old Took's magic diamond studs that never come undone until commanded?
6. Were the dwarves coming from west to east when they reached the Shire, or did they go really far out of their way to find Bilbo? And what were they doing out west?
7. Do dwarves drink tea? None of the dwarves touch Bilbo's tea.
8. Is there significance to the color of the dwarves' cloaks?
9. Is there significance to Dwalin's golden belt?
10. How long have they had tobacco, tea, and cofee in the Shire?
11. Pop-guns exist, so guns exist, though perhaps only as dwarf-made toys?
12. A typical dinner? -- tea, coffee, beer/ale, wine, raspberry jam, seed-cakes, apple tarts, mince pies, cheese, pork-pie, salad, eggs, cold chicken, pickles.
13. With magic pipes you can direct the smoke rings?
14. Common instruments: bag(pipes?), fiddles, flutes, drums, clarinets, viols, and harps.
15. Magic item: light hidden in gems of hilt of sword; illuminates a room until the sword is drawn and held?
16. What else might Hobbits hide behind the beer barrels in their cellars (besides themselves)?
17. If Kili and Fili are so much younger, why were they included in the company? Just because of their kinship, or perhaps the closeness of their kinship to Thorin? And are any other dwarves upset about their exclusion?
18. Where was the Battle of the Green Fields fought and where is Mount Gram? When was Bullroarer Took around to fight it? 60 years ago? 75? 125?
19. Does anyone still play golf?
20. Burglars and expert treasure hunters advertise with secret marks on their doors; this is common practice.
21. What do dwarves dig coal for? Do only dwarf-run furnaces run on coal? And if the dwarves have to dig their own coal now, who were they making to do it before? Maybe the goblins of Moria have a reason to hate dwarves...
22. Who do they know of the Last Desert to the East-of-East in the Shire?
23. Do dragons still live in the Withered Heath?
24. Where are the goblins of Moria regrouping?
25. What is the Necromancer doing now?
26. Dwarves are a common, or at least not rare, sight on the roads of the Shire. What marketable goods do they still trade? The dwarves once controlled a great toy market in Dale. Do dwarves still make toys?
27. Clockworks exist and mantel clocks are not uncommon.