Some 80 years before your birth the world that was ceased to exist; none alive today know exactly how it happened. A conflict between empires? A mistake? Ultimately it doesn't matter, the shining towers of old won't be restored to their former glory when someone figures out what caused their destruction.
You come from a relatively prosperous town called Safford, home to a population of no more than 500. The people here owe their meager wealth to an active coal mine in town, a source of power and heat that they trade with others. You however, have nothing to do with the coal mining business of your community.
All your life you've been a scavenger; picking over the remains of the old world in search of all the things your community needed but couldn't produce; medicine, ammunition primers, electrical components, engine parts. It is thankless work, despite the importance of these goods you never receive anything more than a pittance.
That begs the question; why do you put up with it? What made you turn to this lifestyle in the first place? (This will determine your starting gear and your relationship with the townsfolk. Basic gear is a gas mask + leather satchel)
>You've always been the sort that looks for trouble, you were not meant for the mines like your friends. When the opportunity arose you sold all your knick knacks for a gun and volunteered to become one of the town's scavengers. [Sawn-off pump action shotgun, holds six shells, you've got 8 + 1 syringe of morphine]
>Your parents died shortly after you were born, as an orphan you needed to fend for yourself, you begged, you stole and eventually you became a scavenger. You were always an outcast so it was only natural you'd end up on this path. [rusty 9mm pistol, comes with one 17 round magazine + crowbar + flashlight]
>You were content to live an ordinary life but a night of drinking and a debt to a shady man had forced you to leave the comfort of your settlement's walls. After paying off your debt you came to realize working for old "Saul" (as you are sure that is not his real name) has it's benefits. He supplies you with quality gear but the jobs are a little strange and quite dangerous. Your employer seems to keep a close eye on you. [body armor vest + 9mm SMG with two 30 round mags + flashlight]
>The ruins of the old ones always fascinated you. Your ancestors seemed infinitely more advanced than the people of your town. Infinitely more interesting too. You wanted to study them and the best way to do that was out in the ruins. [5-shot revolver with 7 loose rounds + small tool pouch + headlamp with a hand-crank charger]