A growth tank is a retort in which a living creature is artificially grown1 - it's the traditional source of clones and bioroids in sci-fi and homunculi in fantasy. Terms like "exo-womb" may be used by more dramatic creators - in a sufficiently dystopic setting they may be the normal method of reproduction.
Growth tanks may also be used for healing and other interventions in some settings - an injured creature or one that is to be transformed is loaded into the tank, generally under sedation, and floats there until treatment is complete.
Occasionally, settings that use growth tanks for healing may even find small ones attached to individual casualties to re-grow a limb in the same way as we would use a cast to set a broken bone.
Game and Story Use
- These are typical furnishings for the workspace of the (mad) genetic scientist or biothaumaturge, villain or not.
- In the right settings, a PC who has failed to develop a backstory for his character may one day break into a villain's laboratory and find "himself" floating in a tank. Actually, this could happen to any PC who leaves bits of himself behind on the battlefield, but without the implication that this is where he originally came from.
- Imagine a species that reproduces entirely by using these things. It could be due to a historic plague that impaired baseline fertility, an attempt at trans"human"ism or even a secret origin as an artificial species - perhaps one that includes an attack of Frankenstein Syndrome and the genocide of their creators.