As a thought experiment, if I were to try and run a game of The One Ring in a convention setting, here are the considerations I’d be weighing:
I’d for sure work with a simple scenario that requires some time in a sanctuary and some time in Mirkwood. This is my MYZ model and it’s very efficient.
I’d definitely want to start with pregens. Probably build two more than your slots. Four players is my target, so six characters.
For single serving purposes, everyone starts with one Shadow trait and a permanent Shadow.
I’d definitely want to start them preloaded with additional Shadow and possibly reduce their Hope. Which brings me to my next idea:
I’d doodle up leading questions for the Company and they’d be in a format like this: “Who saved your life from spiders? They take 1 Shadow” or “Who would you protect before anyone else? They become your focus character and gain 2 Shadow.” Stuff like that.
EDIT: maybe look at some Hope-for-skills scheme, let them buy better skills by reducing their Hope. Hope = the level they want to buy? I’d need to test.
Long Con Format
I’d expand the scenario to maybe something that requires a couple long journeys.
I’d build in a Fellowship phase, back at their sanctuary, probably after the first of (say) three sessions.
Definitely make sure all three subsystems get used!
(Brainstormed at my kid’s swim class, apologies for brevity.)