Just something I’ve been thinking about. In fictional worlds like those presented in the Survivors, the Road and the Parable of the Talents (to name a few at random), there seem to be four broad character types:
Scavengers. People who are trying to make a living through picking over the bones of the fallen civilisation. They tend to be nomadic because the resources in any given area run out fast. They live hand-to-mouth and, in consequence, can be fairly suspicious of strangers who they may perceive as likely to take what little they have. On the other hand come scavengers might do odd jobs for settled communities they encounter. These people will value portable goods and food the most.
Settlers. People who are trying to make a living in a fixed location, through farming and perhaps trade. These people will value practal skills and re-usable resources (like farmland) most. They may engage in limited trade with other settled communities, if there are any, and may begin to develop the trappings of a fledgling civilisation as a result. They are nevertheless primarily focused on survival.
Predators. People who are trying to make a living through preying on others. Slavers, raiders, groups of armed men who seek to conquer settled communities. These people value strength and weaponry most of all, and are always on the lookout for someone weaker than them to dominate. Ironically their desire to rule could lead to the development of a basic civilisation – they will inevitably seek to dominate or destroy other groups who might threaten them.
Seekers. People who are seeking something more than simple survival. Sometimes they want something quite specific – perhaps they are looking for their lost daughter, for example. Often they are seeking to build something greater than a small farmstead or similar, either through building up infrastructure, trade and alliances, or perhaps through spreading a religion or philosophy. Despite the fact that their eyes are fixed on something more than survival, seekers will often turn out to be the most practically minded of the lot, never content to settle for scratching out a living by hand if they could be ploughing their fields with horses or a tractor.
Am I missing any important categories here?