And actually I believe the farm hand makes an excellent front line soldier, give him a spear (easier to hit), a shield, and the heaviest armour you can find (he has a high health and stamina pool) — does just fine.
Precisely. And traits could make him even better at it. If he turns out to be a drunkard, there’s nothing wrong with shoving a pike into his hand and making him a two-handed backliner, either. Pikes have a bonus to hit as well, and the pike puts the damage boost to good use.
I think the random factor should remain. I’m okay with backgrounds affecting the likelihood of certain results… but they should still be random.