The Best Ways to Defeat a Vampire
Everyone knows Hollywood's take on the vampire myth, and how to go about destroying one of the undead. Confront her with a crucifix or garlic. Immerse her in running water. Cut off her head. Stake her in the heart. All these techniques derive from real myth, but not all of these myths actually work in the World of Darkness, or at least there's only a kernel of truth to some of them. The following are some of the best ways to defeat and destroy a vampire, assuming she hasn't taken precautions against one or all of them, and she doesn't wake up right before a hunter's hammer blow.
Home, sweet home
A vampire's daylight slumber makes her most vulnerable. If would-be killers can find her haven, she's in jeopardy. Most vampires set up defenses, however. Ghouls may stand watch. Booby traps might spring. Alarms might go off that call the police to what superficially seems like an ordinary home or office. And then there's the threat of the vampire rising during the day, in the dark recesses of her hiding place, forcing herself up to kill whomever dares to threaten her.
Stake in the heart
In the World of Darkness, staking a vampire in the heart only paralyzes her. It doesn't destroy her once and for all. If someone pulls the stake out or it rots away, she rises again and no doubt remembers who assaulted her... or knows the surname of her assailant's descendents. Assuming no other means of destruction is available, a staked vampire can be immersed in concrete or bricked up behind a wall. That way, if she ever is revived, she still has to escape her physical tomb.
A vampire is immune to the effects of poison, but her ghouls, herd, and other mortal minions are not. Undermine her support system. Drive off or kill her agents and servants and her means of survival is taken away. Sure, she's tipped off that someone is after her, but without backup, her weapons may be narrowed to fangs and claws. Those are still deadly, but at least they can be anticipated to some degree.
Hacking and chopping. Believe it or not, the simplest methods still work on vampires. A Kindred can take a lot of punishment from blows, blades, and bullets, but inflict enough damage and even a vampire is pulverized to the point of Final Death. The problem is surviving the attacks she inflicts while you manage to cause her all that harm. Lots of automatic weapons fire by multiple shooters is a good start, followed by judicious use of an axe once she's down.
Not all weapons that can be turned on vampires are physical or even mystical. Some are completely mundane. A vampire with influence over mortals can get the favors and services she needs to insulate herself. But those very layers and institutions can be turned against her. Maybe the old building she calls home can be condemned and torn down. Maybe the stocks in which she is heavily invested can be ruined on the market. Maybe the police are tipped off to the gambling rings she supports. Denied her comforts and layers of protection in the mundane world, a vampire's supernatural existence is threatened.
As a rule, the Kindred seek to keep their existence secret from mortals. If vampires were discovered, the human masses would overwhelm the undead.
While most ghouls are enthralled by their masters, not all are dedicated to vampire regnants. If you can ally with a rogue ghoul, he might have information about the nature of the undead or a particular vampire that you do not. He might also be willing to help capture her as a source of blood for himself. Such a partner is helpful for his knowledge and experience, but is also treacherous. He was or is addicted to vampire blood and might just as easily betray you to a targeted vampire as help you defeat her.
A perennial favorite for rooting out and destroying vampires is fire. It's easily accessible, and vampires are always vulnerable to it. Fire can be counteracted, though. Sprinkler systems work for the undead as they do for the living. Immersion in water or earth also puts fire out. If you resort to this tool to destroy a vampire, and she survives, your own life is certainly forfeit.
Rays of dawn
Sunlight is not so easily portable as fire is, but it can't be doused. At best, a vampire can hide from it, and if she's forced to hide from it without a pre-planned escape route or back door, she's caught like a rat in a trap. Sunlight also buys hunters time to recover, plan, and heal, assuming that they're not Kindred as well, and assuming that a vampire's mortal agents don't hunt her hunters.
Vampires are terrified of both fire and sunlight and can fly into panicked frenzies when exposed to them. Fire might seem to be the intended killer, but when a vampire is flushed out and survives a burning haven, she might not be prepared for machine-gun–toting hunters who await her emergence.
If one is a vampire who hunts other vampires, the best way to do away with a quarry once and for all is diablerie, the act of drinking the last of a victim's blood, and mystically consuming her soul in the act. One of the greatest crimes among the Kindred, diablerie is empowering. The blood of the devourer becomes more potent. He manifests some of his victim's Disciplines and becomes stronger for his "crime." The trick is getting another vampire in a position where she can't resist utter destruction and cannibalization. No small feat when one's quarry is herself a supernatural predator.