The Golden Rule of RPGs is never split the party, but the Fellowship manages to split the party into three different groups, all with their own mission. This is normally the fault of an extremely bad DM, and this DM was undoubtedly one of the worst, but the true culprit behind this complete mess can be pinned on one character, Aragorn. If it was not for his own narcissistic agenda and desire to be the leader, this quest could have been wrapped up in a third of the time.
Look at his character. The original party was three hobbit thieves, a DMPC hobbit fighter, and an epic level warrior running around fooling everybody into thinking he was this demigod wizard. Well the epic level guy was there to get the campaign started with a little nudge, but he bowed out as the extremely experienced player had a conflict with his work schedule. No problem, the hobbits have to get from Bree to Rivendell and drop off the ring. Just grab a random ranger guy from the tavern, just like a million adventures in the past. Only this guy doctors his character background so much it's almost a story in itself. He's not just a ranger eating at a tavern. He's secretly the lost king of Gondor under an assumed name. Oh and there's this smoking hot elven chick waiting to jump him when he gets to Rivendale. Plus he's from a super race of men letting him live well longer than normal men. Then a whole bunch of ghosts owe him a favor because they wronged one of his ancestors a long time ago. Most DM's would have brought out the Magic Marker of Veto to counter this background, but this DM didn't care and just stamped it okay. There's your first problem.
So Aragorn is dragging this party through an extremely combat light adventure as befits a bunch of third level thieves. It's already a pretty badly designed adventure, as he's taking a bunch of thieves on a woodland trip with no locks to pick, no traps to detect and pockets to pick. But Aragorn is showing off his awesome ranger skills right and left. At least until he goes exploring by himself and doesn't even bother to set a picket, and Frodo gets stabbed for his efforts. Fortunately since the DM has eyes for Frodo's player, it all works out because like magic a pouty eyed elf princess shows up and whisks Frodo away and uses some rectomancy to pull a magic spell right out of her ass and wash always all the Nazgul. Aragorn then decides that his long lost elven love is this pouty eyed elven princess rectomancer right here.
So we're at Rivendell and the DM introduces the new players. Gandalf is back, his job schedule clearing up. You get an older experienced player in Gimli, a min maxing twink called Legolas and a guy who's actually built a believable character in Boromir. Aragorn immediately sees the threat in Gandalf and Boromir. Gandalf is a beast in combat, there is no way Aragon could take him, even with a surprise round. Gandalf is sitting on so many hit points and feats he's walking around unarmored knowing he can soak whatever they throw at him. Boromor on the other hand is likable, he cares about the other characters. He plays with the hobbits, talks in character with everyone. If the rest of the party start to like him, Aragorn's position is threatened. They have to go.
Aragorn's jealousy is apparent. When Frodo drops the ring Boromir picks it up and starts monologuing about how such a little thing can be the cause of this epic quest. Before he can even get started and express his emotions Aragorn cuts him off hard demanding he give the ring back to Frodo. Without a second thought he gives the ring right back, even patting Frodo on the head playfully. Between his popularity and genuine friendship with the rest of the Fellowship and his closeness to Frodo, the DM's personal target, Boromir is a marked man.
Aragorn gets his first chance with the Balrog. Gandalf dispatches the demon easily by luring it onto a bridge that couldn't support the weight. Taunting the demon forward it plummets straight to its death when the bridge predictably collapses. However the DM sees the threat Gandalf poses with his chances with Frodo and the Balrog some how gets an attack of opportunity while falling, scoring a critical hit with the whip. The DM's plans are foiled when Gandalf easily passes his save to grap on to the ledge. Here is where you throw the guy a rope. Only Aragorn doesn't even bother. An experienced ranger, who had just been mountain climbing, didn't possess one of the most basic items that even comes with the starting ranger kit? Pull the other one. Aragorn just coldly stood there until Gandalf failed a strength check and plummeted to his seeming death. One down.
After the party leader is gone, the party splits between Boromir and Aragorn. Aragorn wants to keep going the dangerous route by the river. Boromir proposes the much more sensible route inland where they can restock on supplies, especially since they still don't have a cleric. Aragorn begins to formulate his plot. When the Uruk Hai show up Boromir takes the brunt of the assault. With 90% of the Uruk Hai attacking only him, he's low on hit points quickly. When he finally takes out the first wave he signals for help. Aragorn leaves Gimli and Legolas behind to go “help” Boromir. Only Aragorn arrives far to late, despite having to movement penalties in the forest and not even being attacked by Uruk Hai who are all rushing to attack just Boromir. Alas, Aragorn arrives too late to save Boromir, even though the poor man is at round -7 HP when Aragorn finally moseys over him. Then Aragorn for three straight rounds doesn't do a thing to stabilize Boromir. No healing spell, no medicine roll. Just waits for the guy to expire and steals his magic bracers before the body is even cold.
With Frodo leaving with out them and DMPC Sam guilt tripping Frodo into a free ride, it's up to Aragorn to catch up. Sure Merry and Pippen have been kidnapped, but they are no further than twenty minutes ahead, being carried by exhausted and heavily armored Uruk Hai. Aragorn could have easily rescued those two, then swung back and caught back up with two hobbits walking cross country with no outdoors skills whatsoever. What does Aragorn do? Decide he doesn't want to be part of the Ring quest anymore, and goes off script by heading to Rohan.
Somehow the characters in Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, traveling light and rested can't catch up to a body of Uruk Hai running in full platemail with just a marginal head start. No he goes and tries to pick a fight with Eomir and about 50 Rohirrim. When Eomir FINALLY gets Aragorn to go in the right direction by then Merry and Pippin's players have gotten tired of waiting to be rescued and head off on their own. There they find Gandalf, who survived the epic plunge because 20d6 falling damage is nothing to a 20+ level fighter. Cost him a new set of clothes, and a freshly made up story about now being Gandalf the White. Aragorn knows Gandalf's player is miffed about the rope and convinces the other two to jump him by “accident”. Of course Gandalf quickly shows these guys aren't even his weight class, so Aragorn has to be second banana once again, and it steams him. Fortunately Gandalf is just there for a cameo as his work schedule pulls him away again.
When Aragorn gets his first big solo fight he embarrasses himself, getting caught on a worg and crit fumbling his saves before going over the cliff. Time for a new character normally, but Aragon's player whines until the DM relents and Aragorn turns out to be mostly dead instead, saved by the power of his pouty elven princess rectomancer. Aragorn gets back to Helms Deep and quickly realizes Theoden is in charge, not him. A bit more whining and suddenly two hundred elves show up a gift from Aragorn's would be father-in-law or something like that. Exactly like the Rohirrim warriors, except better in all aspects. Of course Aragorn embarrasses himself again as his poor tactics gets every single one of them killed. Fortunately Gandalf is able to get off work early and saves Aragorn with a massive case of deus es machina again.
So Aragorn is stuck in Theoden's camp, still not in charge. While Theoden rounds up thousands of troops like a true ruler, Aragorn will have nothing of it. Aragorn dodges a bullet when Pippin's player screws up for the last time and Gandalf takes him off to teach him how to roleplay. Aragorn turns on his whine powers on the DM and gets an NPC to suddenly show up with GODSWORD +5, +20 when wielded by Aragorn that he just hands over with a quest or any requirements. Aragorn leaves Theoden's camp because if can't be leader, he will take his GODSWORD and play elsewhere. He doesn't even take Merry out of sheer jealosy. Merry turned out to be the best roleplayer, going from some newbie that just wanted to cause trouble to a responsible player that thinks before he acts and leveled up with some balance and well thought out construction. Well Aragorn doesn't need people that are actually going to play the module, he wants people kissing his ass. So Merry wakes up alone.
Aragorn pulls his magic sword and gets all the ghosts to be his new people. Aragorn tests out his new army on some pirates, who without magic weapons don't even stand a chance. Aragorn smirks as he thinks how much he is going to show up Theoden when the Army of the Dead shows up. Then gets an evil idea. He knows Theoden is in for a tough fight, and the Army of the Dead outclasses anything the bad guys throw at his. Aragorn stalls his advance, forcing the ghosts to travel at the same speed as the boats even though they are much faster and don't tire. By the time Aragorn arrives Theoden is just minutes, along with thousands of Rohirrim. As he expected the orcs can't even hit the ghosts and the route is complete. Sure thousands of his allies needlessly had to die, but it's about what Aragorn wants. Everyone who has stood before him dead or gone. But then the reunion with Frodo is announced, and Aragorn's position as the center of attention is threatened once again.
Aragorn tries his hand at true leadership by marching out to attack Sauron. He blows his tactics check and leaves all his cavalry behind. While Aragorn's selfish bungling got a lot of the Rohirim killed, their mounted forces still numbered in the thousands. Aragorn reveals he hasn't put a single point into diplomacy by badly botching his talk with the unarmed Mouth of Sauron. After botching pretty much all of his diplomacy checks he beheads the unarmed man from behind, and while under a flag of truce. Aragorn then shows a complete lack of tactics by allowing his force to be surrounded, and takes on a armored troll by himself that was more than a match for him. The DM finally has to save him by playing a Get Out of Death Free Card in the form of an army of giant eagles and timing the destruction of the Ring simultaneously. The orc horde then completely forgets that even though Mordor blew up, they still outnumber Aragorn's army several times over, and were winning a few seconds ago.
DM quickly wraps up the campaign by letting Aragorn getting crowned king despite getting most of his men killed through bad tactics, showing no grasp of diplomacy whatsoever, and having shown no proof of any administrative skills at all. But Aragorn gets his crown, his pouty elven princess rectomancer bride, and the promise of hot elven sex. Sure Boromir, Theodin and Gandalf had to be eliminated first, but it's all about the Aragorn baby.