What would you consider "valuable" in a kind of post apocalypse world?

This is for my #ONC2023. Picture this, it’s been at least 2-ish generations since “the old world fell” where most of humanity “shed their flesh and turned into monsters.” The MC is from a “settlement” who believe the fall was a “curse” and so they’re a religious/paranoid sort. Her job is a scavenger where she searches for “old world remnants” that can be useful to the settlement. She does have an under the table side business with her childhood friend where she sells some of these remnants in demand to people in their settlement without the higher ups knowing. Every place needs rebels, ya know. :wink:

So, what do you think people in this world would find valuable? Aside from books I mean. Imagine that some science/technology was lost during the fall. And it doesn’t always work out like an RPG party where you have a doctor, a scientist etc. who basically helps “Dr. Stone” the village and fast forward progress by like hundreds of years? The MCs settlement isn’t like caveman, but I imagine they’re not operating on electricity either? They have hearths. Probably water wheels for power.

Later on though, there are other places discovered where yes, they DO have more modern technology. Anyway, hope that’s enough context. I’m trying to figure out what the MC would barter to people that people would be like OMG these are hard to find, I need this!? But my brain is blank. :thinking:

1 Like

Older technology. Does no good to get a sewing machine with an electrical drain, but get your hands on an old cast-iron foot pedaled one, and you’re going to be a godsend, so where you want to hit up is older homes that had rather neat hoarders.

Also, for my survivor one, I learned that you can recondition car batteries with Epsom salt: the stuff used for soaking. Regular salt, you just need an ocean for.

1 Like

Oh, and hit up a Lyon’s Club, you might find a ton of old donated glasses, which can be pretty close to what a random nearly blind person needs.

1 Like

in terms of necessity/usefulness probably things like shoes, painkillers, period products, bandages, fishing line, tools like screwdrivers and spades, oil lamps, matches

in terms of fascination, probably more stuff like jewelry, playing cards, musical instruments

glass jars could fall under both categories :thinking:

1 Like

Ooh, a sewing machine! Good idea!

What do you mean by recondition car batteries? Like you can use them for power so long as you have Epsom salt? :thinking:

Ooh! Glass/mirrors are actually considered “forbidden/cursed items” in my story, but they’ll come into play later for sure. :muscle:

1 Like

Why didn’t I think of any of this stuff! Especially period products. I would hate to be in a post-apocalyptic world without modern products haha. :see_no_evil:

Fishing lines! Those have lots of uses. And people would definitely want shoes. Thanks for the list. :muscle:

1 Like

Apparently dissolving eposom salt in high concentrations when sloshing through a battery makes a solution with the metal that is inside the battery’s case? A car battery has acid. So, something about the salt and metal shifts to acid

1 Like

Hmm, will google that. :thinking:

What’s the food/nutrition situation like?? This stage into post-apocalyptic preserved food has probably run out, so agricultural things like seeds, fertilizer, saplings etc might be useful. Medical supplies and products definitely. Tools—sewing machines, looms, hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers—as well as useable materials, maybe wood planks and metal. Old clothing—specifically jackets and boots—would probably be really useful. Guns and bullets specifically would probably have their own trade, but there would probably be a bigger weapons trade. Medical, historical, scientific, and agricultural books would be important. Glasses would be useful.

I feel like the exchange of services would probably be big as well—people with medical/mental health training and experience, maybe teachers, farmers, chefs, anyone who can sew/knit/weave/really just make and mend clothing effectively. Trades like construction and plumbing would be valuable. Maybe ecology and conservation to try and keep land sustainable. That sort of thing.

Edit: things like typewriters and paper, instruments, fancy writing utensils, pretty but ultimately restricting clothing, candles/candelabras, neat silverware, and statues/sculptures/collectibles would probably all be objects of fascination. Also, survival and military skills and equipment/supplies would be highly valued and crucial, I think


I was gonna ask about the food situation, too. What is valuable depends on what people need. How do they feed? Where do they sleep, how do they get around? And how many years is 2 generations? You have to figure out how long some of these “old word remnants” would last. And where exactly are they finding the remnants? Are there still intact buildings? I would imagine scaveging a hospital or a school or a shopping mall might yield good results.


Yeah, at this point, no one is eating anything from a can. It’s been over 100 years at least. So yeah, they’d have to be self sufficient. I have a tribe of nomads who are merchants and travel throughout the land to different settlements to barter so they’d be able to get things that they might not find locally, but not like how it is today where we can get things from other countries/states. I imagine in this case, they’re mostly horse back and old cars if they can find them/if they work so there’s only so far they can go to discover new foods/plants etc.

I didn’t think about the trading of services! :open_mouth: Definitely writing that down. :smiley:

1 Like

Ahh ok, I was thinking like 60 years since a generation is about 30 years but that’s like 3-4 generations so quite a few “original” skills wouldn’t be around anymore. I bet this would lead to a resurgence in “family trades” then, since skills would have had to be passed down through the family and anyone around pre-apocalypse would be dead.


I’d say it’s been around 100 years since the modern world “fell.” Enough years that there might be very few elderly people around who were kids when the old world existed, and they remember it.

I imagine some buildings or remains of them exist. So they either re-use anything that’s still intact, or build upon what’s there or build up from scratch as far as their living situation goes.

1 Like

I was thinking that too. Where the settlements would be like RPG towns in a sense. You’ll have the baker, the butcher, the seamstress, the farmers etc.

1 Like

I think the closest to what settlements are like depending on their access to technology/skillsets etc. are either Midgar Slums (FF7): Sector 7 slums | Final Fantasy Wiki | Fandom

Or farm/fishing village: https://external-preview.redd.it/T5UV590a0FJlUpb_6lLxpjx8TX81A8s4hJpfUqAf4uA.jpg?auto=webp&v=enabled&s=9ef3d37b7a4b8548d880b98e30e728da3ea98778

The “Midgar” areas would be more technologically advanced, but they’re using things they find leftover because there aren’t factories around to mass produce certain things. As an example. Most areas look like the village though.

I don’t think you’d have anyone still alive 100 years after that. You’ve barely got 100-year-olds still living today. Getting modern technology wiped out would dramatically reduce a human’s lifespan. A lot of illnesses would get out of control + there wouldn’t be as much food, or as good.

Edited to add: I remember reading an article that over 100 years ago, kids were very susceptible to bone disease/issues (can’t recall deets), so foodstuffs were fortified with vitamin D and these issues were eradicated. However, it turned out that this fortification had some adverse effects as well, so it was eventually stopped. Also, scurvy (disease caused by vitamin C deficiency) killed millions of deaths among sailors some hundreds of years ago, because they didn’t have access to fresh supplies of food.

All of that just to say, life would prolly be quite frail and anything to help with that (either in actuality, such as a tool, or in spirit, such as a pretty dress) might prove valuable.

1 Like

Yeah, I was thinking about that. This is a fictional world though so maybe I can bend it a little haha. There are centenarians that exist but they’re rare. According to Google:

The United Nations in 2012 estimated that there were 316,600 living centenarians worldwide.

That’s not a lot compared to a population of billions haha but def way more than I imagined. :laughing: But yeah, maybe I’ll tweak it. :thinking:


It’d be interesting to know which country/world region has the biggest concentration of them to assess what would be the potential factors such as diet, access to medication and care, level of wealth etc have contributed to them reaching that age.


Toilet Paper.

Corn Cobs don’t cut it.

1 Like