"..Dis is my lucky stake. I have killed many vampires with it. I call it Mr. Pointy."The favorite weapon of the Vampire Hunter, and frequently the only thing capable of finishing them off for good. Because weirdly enough, only wood can kill a vampire, whereas sword impalement (short of beheading) cannot. This may be because the wooden stake was a once living plant, much like the vampire was a once living human, unlike the sword which was never alive. Yes, this occasionally means that someone can be killed via pencil to the heart, or that a bow and arrow can be more effective than a gun. In early vampire fiction, stakes were simply used to pin a "vampire" into its coffin while it slept, keeping it from waking back up and causing trouble. It was also a lot harder to get the stake in than it is in modern fiction — you had to hammer the stake in with a mallet or a gravedigger's shovel to get through the vampire's ribcage. When it became a bizarre all-purpose vampire-killing weapon is unclear.
— Kendra, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Anime & Manga
- In My Monster Secret, most of the traditional vampire weaknesses are Played for Laughs, even with a full-blooded vampire like Youko's father Genjirou. It's even suggested that a wooden stake to the heart isn't fatal, since Genjirou's wife Touko has brandished a stake and mallet in order to make him calm down and stop harassing Asahi.
Films — Live-Action
- The Vampire Diaries: This is one of the weakness of the protagonist, Stefan Salvatore. If he's wounded by wood it will cause the vampire to become severely weak. However, if a wooden stake is penetrated through Stefan's heart, it will result in instant death.
- In The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, Victoria hides her wooden stake in her hair when she goes to fancy events.
- Weird Tales: Averted in "The Man Who Cast No Shadow" by Seabury Quinn. On the other hand, "Restless Souls" goes with more traditional vampirism (must be invited in, fears holy relics, etc.).
- Masquerade of the Red Death: Dire McCann crosses this trope with Improbable Aiming Skills. One of his special anti-vampire weapons is a set of sharp, thin wooden rods. He immobilizes several vampires by throwing one of those rods into the vamp's heart. note
- The weapon of choice on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kendra had a favourite stake she dubbed "Mr Pointy". Buffy "adopted' Mr Pointy after Kendra was killed.
- The X-Files: Mulder uses one to kill a vampire in "Bad Blood". It doesn't last
- Ultraviolet: Vampires are particularly susceptible to wounds inflicted with pointy bits of wood, which messes with their healing factor somehow. The team has moved on from stakes, however, and use guns loaded with carbon-compound "dum-dum" bullets — though one still needs to aim for the heart. Vaughn also has, as his personal signature weapon, a device like a spring-loaded ice-pick with a spike made from the same compound.
- The pagan gods can be killed with evergreen stakes.
- A Trickster like Loki can be killed if impaled with a wooden stake. An angel, however, cannot.
- When vampires in True Blood are staked, they dissolve in a puddle of blood.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Truer to form, a wooden stake through the heart won't destroy a vampire, but it will turn it into an immobile corpse and makes destruction of the body easy, usually by cutting of the head and filling it with holy wafers. Don't expect this to work during a fight, however; at best it can be done if you catch the vampire resting in its coffin.
- Ravenloft added several vampire variants with their own stats in 2nd edition, including elf vampires, dwarf vampires, halfling vampires, etc. The wooden stake vulnerability was often changed to something else for each of them; for example, a dwarf vampire wouldn't be stopped by wood, but by a naturally formed stalactite through the heart.
- The Dracula Dossier:
- Telluric Vampires have several similarities to supernatural ones, but also have some important differences. Notably, wooden stakes have no effect, but stakes made from conductive materials ground out a vampire's telluric energies and paralyze it.
- That said, Edom is prepared for a GM who is using the default vampire build instead. The agency's standard-issue crossbow is designed to fire heavier-than-normal wooden quarrels, which can stake a vampire with a really good shot. They also provide a Stake Tube for those times when a vampire is caught sleeping in its coffin; instead of several hammer blows, a pneumatic piston drives the stake into place with a single shot.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption: Available as a weapon, it works like a dagger, deals pitiful damage but has a chance of impaling a vampire enemy in the heart, rendering him helpless for a while as you whale on him. Oddly enough, the same effect can be achieved with arrows and bolts (though it's rarer). Finally, the modern age brings up the a Stake Gun, which is a stake-shooting gun.
- In Town of Salem, this is the Weapon of Choice of the Vampire Hunters (at least until all the Vampire are dead and they pick up a gun). A cross-shaped stake is featured in their avatar, and they use it to kill vampires in their kill messages.
- An inversion in Timeslaughter, where it is Vlad the Impaler himself who uses a wooden stake in his Slaughter Move.
- In Terraria, the stake launcher fires, guess what. As one might expect, it has a huge damage bonus against vampires.
- Metaspace: The Mage Hunter Mooks can fire wooden stakes at high speed. Burning ones.
- In Infamous 2, after losing his Amp, Cole makes a makeshift wooden stake out of a large cross with a pointy bit of wood on the end from a broken coffin lid.
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: A stake extension is one of the upgrades of Gabriel Belmont's Swiss Army Weapon, the Combat Cross. It is used both as a weapon to kill vampires, and as a tool to get extra leverage for operating broken portcullis winches.
- In Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Simon needs to toss oak stakes at the orbs hidden at the end of each dungeon to retrieve Dracula's body parts.
- In Baldur's Gate II, following D&D rules, vampires need to be staked in their coffins after being defeated. Consequently, wooden stakes are an item you need to find/carry.
- In Video Game/Runescape, one quest involves using a stake to slay a weakened vampire. Somewhat notable in that the player needs to use a stake hammer to drive it in.
- Zig-zagged in Sluggy Freelance. Weaker vampires will croak from a stake. Stronger ones like those of the Lysinda clan can be withered and left immobile and powerless, but it can't kill them.