This is one of those "flogging a dead horse" topics, but I want to write something about it regardless. It's no secret that I do like some Tolkien. The Hobbit, for instance, is a perennial favorite. Other works by Tolkien leave me cold. It's an opinion, so take it or leave it. You can argue that EGG & D&D were not influenced by Tolkien, saying that everyone robbed from the same mythologies, but then you have things like Balrogs.
My appreciation of The Hobbit aside, I'm not really keen on using Tolkien's material in my own world. As a matter of fact, I'm bored to tears of orcs, goblins, ents, dwarves, hobbits, balrogs, and the like. Haven't we been experiencing this stuff pretty much continually for our entire lives? I need a vacation from this stuff. That's why I'm happy to say that the World of Yezmyr is 100% Tolkien free.
Yes, it's true. There are no elves, or dwarves, or hobbits. There are no orcs, goblins, ents, or balrogs. There are dragons, but they are eastern worms, not western drakes, and hence not really like Tolkien's dragons. (Secretly, I was tempted to allow a little GW influence and have space orcs armed with plasma bolters, but I thought better of it in the end.)
Now, instead of traditional tropes, I am spending more time conceptualizing the myriad alien horrors that stalk the dusty surface of Yezmyr. The creatures are more horrific and, because they are new, more interesting to myself and the players. Truth be told, I should have made this move a long, long time ago.