A stake is any reasonably sharp and pointed object, preferably of wood, which can be used to impale a vampire through the chest and force them into torpor. For obscure magical reasons, wooden stakes (or other similar organic materials such as bamboo) will work over a large area of the torso, but non-organic stake materials such as plastic or metal only work if they pierce the heart itself. A vampire who has been thus staked will be immobilized and unconscious until the stake is removed. They do not require air, food, blood, or any other life support while thus staked, and can even be stored in the cold vacuum of space. If the vampire's body is burned or their head removed while thus immobilized, they will undergo final death and the body will disintegrate into ash.
A stake, even a proper wooden one, driven into an area other than the torso will have no more or less effect than any other sort of stabbing or piercing damage to that area would inflict on a supernaturally strong and tough creature who can almost instantly heal most forms of damage.