After a Shaper landed on Sucia Island, found out about the illegal shaping taking place on it, and reported it back to the Shaper Council, the council decided to take action and clean up the island before another Shaper would continue the work. Serviles were rounded up, canisters destroyed, and rouges were exterminated.
Two of these Shapers assigned to duty, Zakary and his apprentice Barzahl, were in charge of destruction and study of the illegal works done. Instead of removing the work, especially the discovery of genes and the Geneforge, they took the work (as well as some Drayks and serviles) to the Drypeak Mountains. Zakary governed the city Drypeak as an experimental colony, while Barzahl continued across the mountains to experiment with the work from Sucia Island. Barzahl set up cities across the new territory, as well as more research labs to continue to work.
Barzahl attempted to modify a Drayk named Rhakkus to create a much more powerful servant. This servant was formed into a Drakon, which had the ability to shape creations; however this creation was much more arrogant and greedy than the regular Drayk. The Drakon fled into the mountains to the north. Around this time, some of the serviles began to lose interest in the research of Barzahl and ended up restarting their factions from Sucia Island. The city of Medab became the hub of the Awakened faction while Zhass-Uss became the city of the Takers. Rising became the city of a new faction dubbed Barzites in honor of their leader.
The player enters the game as an apprentice of Shanti, who was sent to the Drypeak Mountains to investigate the colony.
The game is a two-dimentional game in a seemingly isometric projection. The player is controlled as third person.
This is the state of not joining a faction. No bonuses are given from cities and faction-specific quests with huge rewards are not given. The advantage is that no one faction is immediately angry and hostile to the player.
This faction is loyal to the Shapers and led by Zakary in the game. This faction has the aim to destroy the works of Barzahl and to eradicate the other factions with rebellious thoughts. The Shapers act along the general interests of the Shaper Council.
To join the Shapers the player needs to display pro-shaper views (serviles should not have rights.) Speak to Zakary in the Drypeak Warrens to join.
This faction is both loyal to Shapers and Serviles. The faction aims to put Serviles on-par with Shapers in society as equals.
This faction is loyal to Barzahl and aims to gain as much power as possible.
To join the Barzites the player needs to display pro-shaper views (serviles should not have rights.) Speak to Barzahl in Rising to join.
This faction aims to rebel against the Shapers and overthrow them. This faction is available in the later games known as the 'rebels'.