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  • Lab Grown Blood

    An article popped up today regarding the use of synthetic / lab grown blood in humans.

    So now that lab grown blood is more of a reality rather than exclusive sci/fi fodder, how does that apply to Vampires for your games?

    Is farmed/grown blood viable for vampiric consumption? If so then a large portion of vampiric society is going to go through a tectonic shift. The distributions for Morality paths will change, as will the membership in every faction, I could see the Camarilla spear heading this because the anarchs don't have the financial power to bring this technology forwards, and the Sabbat would have issues since it is their brand is kind of based off of embracing vampirism rather than existing with it. Though I could see the ventrue clan weakness becoming rather interesting to farm for.

    If farmed blood is not viable, as in it is completely neutral and has no nutritional benefit, does that mean every time you feed you have to roll to see if all the blood you drink from a random victim is actually compatible with your undead system?

    Alternatively, would you make farmed blood toxic to vampires? Though that would also means any given hunting session runs the risk of getting poisoned. Yes I know the farmed blood technology is in its infancy, but it won't take long, especially in vampiric terms for farmed blood to become a default technology.

  • #2
    Ultimately, vampirism is a magical curse, so sometimes you'll have situations where, "that doesn't work, just because" even if, scientifically, it feels like it should work. Allowing characters go down to the basement of their haven to 3D print some blood for the night doesn't seem like it would make the game more compelling. In fact, I think it would radically shift the mood of the game in a different direction.

    So I'd say that no, synthetic blood won't feed a vampire's hunger. Once it's been given to a human as part of a transfusion, after a few days some sort of mystical bonding happens and the blood is treated like normal blood by vampires. It's not something that would really come up in most games other than some weird edge case where an ST wants to mess with a player.
    Last edited by AnubisXy; 11-10-2022, 03:39 AM.

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    • #3
      I'd go with more of a mid way approach since I like to reward a good ideas in game, plus the idea technological and social developments can't work around aspects of the curse arnt really true when we consider say.....light bulbs or urbanizatio. Id rule that it's simular to dead blood or animal blood and isn't as filling or pleasent


      Useful but not as good as the real stuff, plus loads of power struggles for this resoarce.
      Last edited by Ragged Robin; 11-10-2022, 05:18 AM.

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      • #4
        I'll definitely be interested in adding it to my games, and will treat it as viable as bagged blood, with some caveats.

        While it may be good for the Masquerade and for vampires who want to maintain their humanity, it's not actually going to change much, all in all. "The super-powered crime lords corrupting our societies and exploiting us for their benefit from the dawn on history are vegan now! Guess we'll just call it water under the bridge! Also they'll totally just give up all the illicit wealth and dark power they've spent decades to centuries accumulating and stop being backstabbing toxic assholes who magically enslave people!" Nah, the Masquerade and the pressures of undead society aren't going anywhere. Human retaliation will still be a threat, because vampires are still a threat and will continue to be vampires. They'll probably be worse, because not needing to feed / needing to feed less, there'll be less signs to track them down with.

        There's also the question of where this blood is coming from, how to keep it secure, which will include means of systemic corruption. Kindred themselves are usually busy and also unavailable for over half the day, so I'm seeing scientists as ghouls and dominated thralls being employed, so it's still likely to be potentially shaky ethical grounds. Then again, sustaining one's existence is an act of exploitation on any level for anyone, vampire or no. It's a question of what a concerned vampire considers the lesser evil, I suppose.

        I also wouldn't consider it a cure all for feeding needs.
        First off, Ventrue won't be able to drink it. That's an entire clan that still needs to hunt and cultivate herds. Nagaraja are a mere handful of vampires, but they also won't be able to dodge their feeding problems.

        Next, regardless of whether you explain it with mystic or scientific reasoning, vampires are still predators unto humanity. Even if synthetic blood can fill your blood pool, you still instinctively view others as prey and have the urge to hunt. Kind of like my cat still tries to murder anything smaller than her that moves for sport. It's not enough to keep them well supplied with a haven and blood supply, you must always ensure your vampire gets appropriate enrichment! (OK, silliness out of my system.) Drinking from a bag of donated blood, or a cup of synthesised blood does not deliver the hit that closing in on a human and delivering "the Kiss" does.
        I'm not sure how I'd reflect this in mechanics, probably something to do with willpower or frenzy rolls, idk.

        And not all vampires will be willing to live on artificially created blood and will keep preying on humans. Sort of like people reject GMOs and vegan diets and stuff on the grounds that they think they're unnatural and come up with conspiracy theories about things, there are probably plenty of kindred who are going to reject "fake" blood on the same grounds with Jyhad paranoia sprinkled on top. Plus concerns that whoever is creating and distributing your blood supply is out to get/control you and tampering with it in some fashion is not out of the question in the World of Darkness, especially for vampires.

        There's also the question of availability. Some sects won't use them, individual domains may ban or put restrictions on the production or circulation. You might have no choice but to hunt.


        Alternatively, even if it's not viable for direct eating, it is useful to keep your herd healthy if you can give them transfusions of synthetic blood after feeding.
        Last edited by Rhywbeth; 11-10-2022, 07:11 AM.

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        • #5
          It's about life force as much as it is about blood. That's why they call it Vitae, and why animal blood is garbo but werewolf blood is fangtastic. A pure-science approach to making blood would probably not sit well with vampires. It doesn't have life too it.

          Now, sprinkle in some mage bullshittery or do something horrible like cloning, and you've got yourself something, but anything made by mages really struggles with scale and can't be a product produced in sufficient numbers to meet the demands of vampires. I would imagine you'd be limited by a node's quintessence output, or ethics and what you can hide from the law.


          Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
          There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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          • #6
            Adding to this, if we're going for a science-based approach:

            They're ain't no such thing as "blood bags".
            Sorry to burst the bubble, but blood banks and hospitals separate donated blood into blood products almost immediately.
            The bags of red stuff you get in transfusions aren't blood - it's pure erythrocytes (red blood cells) in a synthetic suspension to prevent clogging.
            There are also other blood transfusions happening, mostly trombocytes or serum. Trombocyte bags are yellow
            Whole blood just isn't very useful for the practical medical needs of today.

            So beyond examining one's capacity for digesting synthetic blood, it could be useful to examine if vampires can even drink donated blood. Which part of the blood actually contains the good stuff?


            Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pang4 View Post
              Adding to this, if we're going for a science-based approach:

              They're ain't no such thing as "blood bags".
              Sorry to burst the bubble, but blood banks and hospitals separate donated blood into blood products almost immediately.
              The bags of red stuff you get in transfusions aren't blood - it's pure erythrocytes (red blood cells) in a synthetic suspension to prevent clogging.
              There are also other blood transfusions happening, mostly trombocytes or serum. Trombocyte bags are yellow
              Whole blood just isn't very useful for the practical medical needs of today.

              So beyond examining one's capacity for digesting synthetic blood, it could be useful to examine if vampires can even drink donated blood. Which part of the blood actually contains the good stuff?
              I can't remember off the top of my head if previous additions addressed this, but V5 did. Generally only whole blood is viable, but I think I remember the Iron Gullet merit permitting one to feed on stuff that's been through a centrifuge or whatever.

              Edit: Checked. Merit allows for feeding on various forms of dead blood "and fractionated plasma" and so forth, so yes. Previous editions, regardless of if they went into the details didn't require a merit, blood bag was on the chart as 1 BP. The processed stuff in bags is on the table, to some degree.
              Last edited by Rhywbeth; 11-10-2022, 08:41 AM.

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              • #8
                At best it'll probably be at the level of preserved blood, but potentially tasting even worse. Although it might not even work, as has been pointed out it's at least as much about the 'life force' as the actual physical blood.

                Of course I believe the actual blood is more important in Masquerade than Requiem, as spending BP can be detected as changes in weight. But it's still not just the blood, personally I'd draw the line at 'the blood must have come out of a person'.

                As to 'what part of the blood is actually important to kindred', I'd go for any. Drink what you want and you'll gain blood pool, but it's best not to stick to an unbalanced diet (unless you happen to be Venture).


                Blue is sarcasm.

                If I suggestion I make contradicts in-setting metaphysics please ignore me, I probably brought in scientific ideas.

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                • #9
                  I think it really comes down to "what do you want out of the game" and "how does hunting feed into that?"

                  I'd probably have synthetic blood in games mostly because feeding is only really a problem in games where you are playing the lowest of the low. When you don't know who would be your next meal and you struggle for blood. Which is a great mode to play but as soon as a vampire gets a herd or is able to get some blood via a blood bank, etc it's not really a problem.

                  I'm reminded of something written about Kansas City where because of the meat industry there, you have a larger vampire population than normal because of the availability of free-ish animal blood. For me, hunting/feeding is only important to the stories I tell (which are more about vampires being petty dicks to one another and their role in making cities into comfortable living spaces from them) in the aspect of when they are not able to due to some rival or enemy faction/sect is working against them. Which having synthetic blood doesn't really affect it because that can just be another line of attack.

                  "Your rival has destroyed your synth-blood supply you know have to go out to hunt. Then while on the hunt, you get ambushed by a ghoul hit squad." Or something similar.
                  Last edited by MrNatas; 11-10-2022, 10:58 AM.

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                  • #10
                    This comes down to personal taste. I am down on the section where this is not a scientific problem. Vampires aren't humans with special dietary needs. They are damned supernatural creatures animated from the dead to prey and parasitize the living. It is the life force that they are after.

                    I would put lab grown blood on the bottom rung of "nutrition" for vampires, far worse than animal blood or donated blood. It perhaps some value, but a vampire would need to consume so much of it that it's practically worthless. You don't want a situation where vampires no longer need to feed on humans because science has solved their problem because you get something else other than your traditional vampire horror story, and that is what the game is about. If I had to create some kind of mechanic right now, I'd put some incredibly large number of synthetic blood (practically tasteless and making the vampire increasingly dispeptic) to eventually contribute 1 Blood Point, and then cap it at that for the night. You never get to 2 or more Blood Points from it. And after a certain point, it should negatively affect the vampire like poison would a human. I might even throw a risk of Frenzy after feeding on so much of this blood before you get to the 1 Blood Point just to discourage players who want to ignore the obvious roleplay disincentives.

                    I would want it to be similar to "rabbit starvation" where a diet of lean meats (like rabbits) eventually cause protein poisoning because of the lack of fat. If you eat only lean meats, despite having all the food you want, you'll eventually die. While you are getting the calories, you are not getting the nutrition you need. I think any lab grown blood should be the same in regards to vampires.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rhywbeth View Post
                      I also wouldn't consider it a cure all for feeding needs.
                      First off, Ventrue won't be able to drink it. That's an entire clan that still needs to hunt and cultivate herds. Nagaraja are a mere handful of vampires, but they also won't be able to dodge their feeding problems.
                      To be fair Cultivated/Vat Grown Meat is a thing, so the lab grown blood was the missing component as far as the Nagaraja are concerned.

                      As for the Ventrue, it does beg a question of exactly how their preferences are designed, do they have to feed on teenage girls or do they just require blood with low free radicals and a spike of estrogen? Do they have to feed on the blood of a given racial sub-group or do they taste the DNA as it were and only find certain haplo groups palatable?

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                      • #12
                        Setting aside how it would change both how the game is run and its themes, drinking lab-grown blood probably wouldn't be viable because of how the metaphysics works. At least according to Mage's metaphysics.

                        If you asked a mage, they'd say a vampire drinks blood because they're a Bygone that's staving off Reality unraveling them by stealing Quintessence from the Patterns of living creatures. The ability to tap a resource most Bygone's can't is why vampires are so successful.

                        While comparing the metaphysics of Vampire and Mage is a dubious prospect at the best of times, it seems internally consistent in its effects. It explains why animals, despite in many cases having a far greater volume of blood in their systems, consistently contain far fewer Blood Points than a human. Humans have 10 Quintessence points in their Pattern (when not a mage, obvs), and a vampire can get 10 BP from them. Simple as.

                        Ergo, any production of artificial blood would need to have a way to "enrich" it with Quintessence somehow. Otherwise, it would be at best watery (like, the vampire would need to chug gallons of the stuff to siphon the micro-Quint derived from the biomass used to fuel the blood's lab growth), and at worst non-viable. Not to mention probably taste foul, or like nothing at all.

                        Humans can take lab-grown blood in transfusions, because their biology needs to have it as a medium for delivering oxygen and nutrients. From a purely biological/mechanical perspective, it's as needed as having an unobstructed airway. Regardless of the state of the person's Pattern. They'll "enrich" the transfused blood passively over time, as their internal Quintessence equalizes.

                        Vampires, however, rely on the Quint inside blood to function. It's not a biological factor, but a spiritual one. They can only get substantive value from lab-grown blood if it's infused with Quintessence. Either deliberately by mage/sorcerer intervention, or passively by sitting on top of a Node.

                        (I mean, I suppose a Progenitor might experiment with creating a Progenitor version of a Primal Venture. Doing Shenanigans to generate Quintessence like a Node, which gets distilled into Tass via "enriched" lab-grown blood. I don't know why someone would do that, but it's probably not for the vampire's benefit.)


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                          While comparing the metaphysics of Vampire and Mage is a dubious prospect at the best of times, it seems internally consistent in its effects. It explains why animals, despite in many cases having a far greater volume of blood in their systems, consistently contain far fewer Blood Points than a human. Humans have 10 Quintessence points in their Pattern (when not a mage, obvs), and a vampire can get 10 BP from them. Simple as.
                          This sort of lines up with some older stuff, specifically Dr. Douglas Netchurch and "Vitae Efficacy Unit" related research. I forget which book it was that had the write up, but he more or less discovered the Blood Point, and reinforced the idea that vampires with larger blood pools don't have extra gallons of blood, they just refine the life energy into their vitae more efficiently.

                          The main issue is that blood quality and quantity have been somewhat nebulas concepts in VtM. For the longest time there was just Animal blood, Mortal blood, and Supernatural blood. But each successive book or media seems to add a different spin to it.

                          VtM: Bloodlines gave the commentary that there was flavor difference if not a nutritional difference between a homeless person and a well to do person with a PHD.

                          V20 has the Animalism rank six power "Animal Succulence" is a permanent upgrade that doubles the vitae extracted from an animal for the same amount of blood. Mechanically this would give credence to the notion that it has more to do with a vampires internal refinement process than enriching the blood prior to consumption.

                          Though if the blood was only a bit lifeless, would it really matter? Just using random amounts, if a vampire has to drink a pint of normal blood to get one blood point of vitae refined, but then had to drink one gallon of clone blood to get one blood point of vitae refined, that wouldn't really have that much of an affect. Last I checked, vampires are closed systems and thus didn't suffer from overeating.

                          Part of this is pulling from the Kindred of the East mechanics where the source of energy and the "food" can vary quite a lot.

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                          • #14
                            Gunna go against the grain here and say that not only would lab grown blood Not conflict with VTM's themes, it would actually enhance them.

                            IRL Synthetic blood needs to be created in a central location with expensive equipment and controlled conditions. There aren't going to be anyone printing it in their basement

                            This means that while, yes, there are blood rations that can let vampires on humanity avoid feeding, those same blood rations are best gotten from your local Cammie-owned blood factories. Said Cammie-owned factories are going to be controlling supply for political reasons, have direct access to any customer's blood supply in case they want to add anything "Extra", and are going to be bending the neonates over with price-gouging to make them nice and controllable.

                            Princes might go so far as to Ban traditional hunting in their city under the guise of protecting the masquerade, all while monopolizing the only steady supplies of "Legal" blood. The Cammies could easily turn a sizable portion of the younger vampire population into their personal blood-junkies in only a couple decades of political maneuvering.

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                            • #15
                              I think it wouldn't really work on any but the youngest & weakest Kindred who have a Blood Potency of 3 or less. Even then they might find it tasteless and unpleasant, enough to slake some hunger and that's it. Then we are talking about supernatural creatures here and it might not even work on them at all as it didn't come from a living thing whatsoever.


                              What in the name of Set is going on here?

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