The survival mode in Remnant: From the Ashes does not give you too much to start out with when you first enter the mode. The first thing you have is a pistol, and 1,000 scrap. When you enter the mode you materialize in the center with five different stones where you pick and choose what you can take with you given your limited resources. However, traits are another matter, and you need to locate them while playing through it.
You find traits by running through the survival mode and searching around. You can locate them on the way to fighting a boss or progressing through an area. You can also find them by taking down the stronger enemies that spawn into your game, which gives you even more motivation to seek them out before moving on from an area.
If you want to level them up, you do not receive trait points you like you would through your traditional campaign. To level up any of the traits you have on your character, you need to find them while you play the survival mode. It’s essentially picking them up a second time, and adding a point to it.
The more traits you pick up, the more you add to your character, and the more chances you have to level them up. There’s no strict method of locating them during your survival campaign, except to kill every monster you encounter and to explore every small area you run across. However, you’re on the clock, so don’t take too much exploring a location. You might find yourself facing much stronger enemies than you previously expected to encounter.
The traits are always random during each survival mode run, so you may have a set up you prefer in your campaign but you can expect to rely on your wits and skill rather than predetermined character build.