Southern group, @Garrison, @Serenity and @Artemis. You three are going to go get a shard of the Sun all on your own. It's going to be located way to the west of Gondor, in a place called Andrast (click for map). You will encounter hillmen, played by me, to oppose you. Hopefully it will give you something to do. Would this interest you two?
The northern group will then go into Angmar and find a shard there. Then the two groups should hopefully meet in the Misty Mountains region and find another shard in the marshes along the Great River.
a descent plan... but Andrast is really far, away from the group and out of where, at least in my mind. where the Party is headed, which was probably to minas Tirith where the learned people are. I would counter and say perhaps the group that attacked Serenetys caravan is still mucking about, and was going to pounce the travelers when they left the shelter of he walled city.
Perhaps the chieftan of this raiding party has the shard as some sort of decoration or trophy from a battle that he fought or he just found and thought it looked pretty. either way, the southern partys resident scholar could realize the importance of such an artifact and seek confirmation in her library back at Rivendel.
we could be harried and hunted all the way back because REVENGE! or hey they are travellers, get em. Either way.
while your party actually finds out there is one residing at the peak of Amun sul or weathertop, Complication it has been taken over by some rebel force which is worshiping it like a golden calf. which will be played by myself and whomever else wishes to contribute.
for whatever reason, perhaps because Bennys character learns there is still a small enclave of elves who may know of another place where a piece of the sun has been hidden away or because of a multitude of other reasons, they make a pitstop in Imladris or Rivendel. and then the two parties meet.
Then as a full party we can head to angmar which can be filled with all sorts of bad guys.
I dont know that I quite like the idea of a piece of the sun being worshiped by a rebel force. just kinda feels a little off to me. But we will see what everyone else has to say on that subject
Another compromise that we could make if andrast seems to far is having it be found a little closer. If Minus Tirith was the goal we could find it on the way there. Decide to go back to rivendell from there, but on the way we encounter the other group in the misty mountains, since we have to cross the misty mountains to get back to rivendell anyway
Well my plan isn't exactly unfeasible. The distance from Alburg to Andrast is almost the same as Brandywine Bridge to the mountains of Angmar. You do not have to play out this journey. Simply time skip your characters to the area and go searching. Now that is not to say you can still not encounter those raiders and so forth and deal with them. Perhaps they made some sort of encampment around the shard and so forth.
I like this idea of hitting the wilds first before we move to any civilized or inhabited areas like Minas Tirith or Rivendel. Rivendel is actually pretty abandoned at this point. No Elrond and most of the wiser elves already left, probably taking most of their valuables with them. That only leaves Minas Tirith as a place of lore and learning so I'd like to come there at a later stage in the RP. Weathertop also doesn't work since it'll probably be reoccupied as a fortress of Arnor, the northern kingdom.
But after the Andrast/Angmar adventure, our two groups can meet west of Moira/Khazad-Dum and journey together into the mountains where the third shard will be. We can put the fourth in Mirkwood and the last in Mordor and maybe add one more if we think we want more adventures.
It's sort of like a progression. We go to the wild areas first (Andrast/Angmar), the semi-wild areas next (Misty Mountains, Mirkwood) and finally the civilized areas last where the battles are and such. It's only my suggestion. Heading to Minas Tirith right away cuts out most of the northern and western halves of Middle-Earth.
EDIT: Y'all come on Discord, easier to plot there. We all got good ideas, we just need to find a good path to follow.