[RPG] Why does the Folk Hero get a shovel


Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (one of your choice),
a shovel, an iron pot, a set of common clothes, and a
belt pouch containing 10 gp

I get pretty much everything else, but the shovel seems like a purely random addition. The other backgrounds don't have totally irrelevant equipment (though they may have surprisingly specific items).

My first thought was that the shovel is part of the character's past, but that's what the tools are for. Am I missing something?

Best Answer

I think it has to do with this bit of background:

You previously pursued a simple profession among the peasantry, perhaps as a farmer, miner, servant, shepherd, woodcutter, or gravedigger.

Several of the defining events indicate that he may have expertise with said shovel as a weapon or as a tool of his trade (farming/mining/grave digging).

Ultimately though, several of the 5 backgrounds have at least something that's a potential roleplay item. The Soldier has a trophy and the Sage has a mysterious letter. These look like solid story hook type ideas that can enhance roleplaying. While the shovel may be more useful, it looks like it exists largely to inform a bit of the story of the PC this background is given to.