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Traits are split between positive ones, which cost points and help your character, and negative ones, which give you points and hinder your character. The right selection of traits can mean the difference between a living survivor and a rotting corpse.

Several starting professions also grant you special profession traits which are based on the characters' career before the Cataclysm and grant you access to equipment and places that you might not otherwise be able to attain among other bonuses.

Some starting scenarios in 0.C (Cooper) also give you different choices of starting traits. For example in the Challenge-Lab scenario, you can choose several mutations, like for example Gills, as a starting mutation. This because your character was experimented upon before the apocalypse. Or, you might even be a clone from ... something. These starting mutations count as traits, so they cannot be removed with purifier, and do not count for threshold mutations.