"It should not be destroyed. It is an incredible invention. Its power must be carefully controlled, but its power guarantees that Shapers will ever hold dominion over the lesser people of this world."
-Danette's Shade, Holding Cells.
The Geneforge is a Powerful device that rewrites the genetic code of the user. It is usually designed to make the user gain magical and physical power, with common generally irreversible side effects including mental instability.
She and her colleagues discovered, among other things, that all living organisms were made of tiny "scrolls", which they called genes. On these scrolls were written the design for the whole organism. Danette, after much study, decoded, and figured out how to modify these scrolls using modified essence, which was placed in glass canisters lined with pure steel for practical use. Upon using these canisters, she discovered that she could give herself great power very quickly.
After experimenting with the design of the canisters, Danette discovered a way to rewrite the genome. Using this knowledge, she created the Geneforge, a 6-foot long pool filled with essence, crystals, and various other magically charged substances designed to rewrite a Shaper's genes.
The Geneforge purportedly contains the genetic code for a "new type of being" able to "rewrite" the world into a "paradise", but at the same time was created, according to Danette's shade found in the Holding cells, with the intention to dominate all non Shapers, creations and outsiders alike.
Thus the ideological premise behind that of the geneforge and it's construction was in fact genocide.
Fearing a disaster, the Shaper council had the isle, device and all research associated to it, barred.
To use the original version of the Geneforge, one must wear specially designed shaped gloves which slow the otherwise fatal absorbtion of essence into the body. Later versions of the Geneforge, however, were designed to give significantly less power, removing the need to wear the gloves. The Geneforge has also been modified for other species to use.
Effects and Death
In Geneforge 1, using the Geneforge correctly will increase the user's Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Endurance by 10 points, heal them, and cause them to go power-mad (leading to a different ending, and some peaceful characters turning hostile). Misuse of the Geneforge (no gloves, long-dip of hand, etc.) causes the player to die a painful death, slowly dissolving in agony into a fleshy goo. The use of the Geneforge again has no effect. Destroying the Geneforge can affect the post-game story of the Shaper.
In Geneforge 2 and 3, the Geneforges are for Drakon use only, and death can be reached through their use. Their use in the game, however, is important due to the fact that destruction of them can finish the game. In Geneforge 2, however, there is a similar device that has the same effects of the original powerful Geneforge that can be used by the player without fear of death, which is in the possession of the Awakened and the Barzites.
In Geneforge 4, using the lesser Geneforge will allow the user to increase a point in: Create Fyora, War Blessing, minor heal and Firebolt - the basic things a lifecrafter needs to know. The player is forced to use it during the game's tutorial phase. They will also have a problems controlling their anger throughout the game, but this cannot be avoided. Using 15 canister or more canisters in addition to that will have intense mental effects on the player, causing him to sometimes get into fights (which he would most likely win). This Geneforge is significantly weaker than the first Geneforge created, due to balancing issues in the game. A second Geneforge is present in Northforge Citadel although use of it will kill the player instantly.
In Geneforge 5, using the Geneforge only raises the player's intelligence by 1, but allows the player to defeat The Presence. The player does not become arrogant, the typical signs of a Shaper having used the canisters. The necessity of using this Geneforge makes abstaining from canister use almost unnecessary.