Another simpler solution would be that you “Buy” your founding members from a big, refreshable list of randomly generated brothers.
Similar to the points you use to build a warhammer army.
So you have lets say 1000 crowns and could decide whether you prefer to get just one boss hedge knight or start out with 5 beggars
I like that. That way you keep the randomisation, while letting people pick backgrounds and appearances that suit the narrative they want. You could also re-use assets from the town recruitment for efficiency. It would need some testing though, to find out whether getting a heavily decked out hedge knight isn’t always the superior choice to taking a bunch of miners and jesters in burlap sacks. From what I’ve seen so far, good armour and weapons can be a real game-changer, so that might need an appropriate price tag attached to it. Maybe make the amount of crowns you get partly dependent on the difficulty level? You could also make it optional and keep completely random version as an alternative?
An even simpler solution would be to allow the player to select either one two or three of the characters from the list. This would allow a reasonable freedom of choice without compromising the original design intention and would obviate the need for any sort of character generation.
The problem with that, like Malthus mentions, is that it could lead to the player focusing on trying to minmax the gear and backgrounds of your starting members, only picking the inferior option for role-playing reasons. It could still work, but would probably need to be balanced a bit by something like not letting the player see what kind of gear they start out with.
As a side issue to this, the introductory narrative refers to ‘you’ and three comrades in arms – making four. So where is the ‘you’ referred to, as you only get three starting brothers?
You’re basically the cursor and face of the company. Shouting orders, saying who gets what gear, taking on contracts, etc. I figure they didn’t give you a physical presence on the battlefield because otherwise dying would be game over (since the narrative is technically about you) or confusing (who’s the new main character? Who’s the one giving orders?).
Also it suggests that the three fought in the shield wall with you, which puts them as soldiers. Clearly, a lot of the potential starters are not soldiers, so the beginning doesn’t really fit the narrative. Maybe that could be changed to ‘have fought with you for the past few months’ instead.
I would prefer the ‘you’ to be one of the three initial brothers, picked randomly or otherwise, rather than being an invisible presence.
I interpreted it as a justification for why the starting members get some combat bonuses, while leaving things open as to when and how long they fought together. Makes for some space in the narrative where you can put your own story. Maybe they’re old war buddies and you decide to get back in touch with them? Or maybe, like you said, you met them only recently and managed to convince them of your plan to form a company.