I was making bad guys to throw against some younger kids (8-12) who want to play Legend Quest and it occurred to me - Why would really minor bandits be warriors? Look, there are kids who grow up wanting to be soldiers. They play soldier, they watch soldiers, they get into military academies, and then they become soldiers. These guys are going to be warriors through and through. OK, so they will learn some auxiliary skills, like carousing and maybe a foreign language, but by and large it will be combat skills and those skills that promote good military life (etiquette, weapon craft, maybe senses, etc.)
What about our rabble of bandits? Did they decide at a young age they wanted to be bandits? Probably not. Did they grow up playing bandits? Well, maybe yes. Did they go to a bandit academy? Nope. So what skills should they have? Well, if they are low level bandits, they probably tried to do a number of other jobs first. Maybe they were porters, common laborers, maybe caravan guards, lumberjacks, bartenders, cotton pickers, or all of these at various different times. I went with these guys tried to make it under a number of jobs, but kept getting fired for not working hard enough. Slackers seem to be more inclined to turn to banditry. I figure they were lumberjacks longer than any of their other minor professions, so they wield axes (tool strength), and the one guy who worked as a caravan guard also has a bow. Are they weak in combat? Sure, but they’re supposed to be - they’re starter bad guys.
Gotta tell you - I’m really proud of these losers. They make sense. These are exactly the type of guys that would try to pull off this job and get killed for it. They are tougher than a typical farmer, enough so that most people would hire mercenaries to protect them from them, but not offer enough money to get the really good mercs, just the starter ones. I’m also really happy with the LQ character creation process that allows me to create guys like this quickly, and not have to pigeon hole every character like he spent his life in a gladiatorial training camp. Try it - You’ll like it!