I am a warrior of God, fighting the menace that bloodsuckers present to humanity. They're grave sinners against our Lord, nothing short of hellspawn, and for that, they deserve nothing, but total extermination.

Yet, I feel I have failed. One of the chief servants of Hell, something called among Cainites an Antediluvian, arose from its fiery underworld home and now seeks to destroy all of humanity.

My only solution lies in great sacrifice, and martyrdom of many men - I have procured a nuclear weapon at a great cost to my Order and now seek to destroy this malignant beast once and for all.

As the mushroom cloud rises kilometers away from me, I feel at peace. But have I achieved my goal indeed, for the eldest of hellspawn are truly resilient?

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, only the last paragraph is actual question? If other paragraphs contain information actually relevant to the question you are asking, seriously consider rewriting it in the out of character form, for easier reading. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Oct 17 at 8:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot I think the extra material adds context in this case; it removes the question of "but what about the human casualties of such an act?" It'll probably get edited out, but I think it's valuable. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 17 at 10:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc It's not valueless, but it's still overwrought. The narrative pieces obscure the question more than they clarify it, and the question itself is "would a nuclear weapon kill an elder/Antedeluvian". Other effects are irrelevant to the mechanical question, and the mechanical question is the only on-topic part. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Oct 17 at 15:32

If you've got a risen Antediluvian in your game, what you've got is a Gehenna chronicle, one where the end of the world of vampires is nigh. Time of Judgment: Gehenna has some things to say about the power of the antediluvians; one of them is that an antediluvian can only be destroyed by something of its power or greater, and another is a description of the notional 10-dot power "Plot Device," which proposes that an Antediluvian can do anything that falls into the purview of its discipline. One example is that with Fortitude 10, having a single point of blood would be enough to resist "any conceivable attack." As the events of history have shown, atomic devastation is surely conceivable.

So, does the Antediluvian wish to die? Some do, and some can be made to do so. In that case, it might work. Otherwise, an atomic bomb is just fire and heat and force, and all of those can be resisted by a sufficiently determined elder. One could become an impervious mist, or maybe the power of the mind prevents you from thinking the thought necessary to engage the weapon.

But, consider this: in most of the Gehenna scenarios, what stops the Kindred from winning is the power of the Divine, whether to redeem or to punish. Such a character might have the right tools after all — but the bomb alone probably won't do it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Seems like this argument would partially depend on the matter of "which antidiluvian". Sure, some of them have Fortitude 10, but I wouldn't think that all of them would. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Oct 17 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden I suppose that’s true, but each has at least one discipline at 10 that would serve a similar purpose. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 17 at 20:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ each one gets to do impossible plot magic, yes... but certain kinds of impossible plot magic are much more suited to surviving a nuke than others. For Fortitude, that's fundamentally what it's for. Celerity... you could stretch a bit, and say that it could run out of the blast radius in an instant, but for any sort of plausibility, you'd have to at least know the blast was coming. Obfuscate would be stretching things much more severely. Presence and Dominate are basically out of luck. Otherwise it goes from "anythign within the purview of the discipline" to "Anything". \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Oct 17 at 21:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Did you notice I used a Dominate example in the text? ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 17 at 22:05

In the metaplot of VtM the Ravnos antediluvian required two nuclear bombs to take down, plus they needed to teleport sunlight across the city he was in, and he needed to be softened up before hand by several gangs of werewolves, mages, and vampires.

However this is such a rare occurrence the game does not really model it. I.e, if you want your Antediluvian to be less durable you should feel completely free. Even if Ravnos was a thing in your game, maybe other Antediluvians are less resilient.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't this depend on the yield of the nuke? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Oct 17 at 8:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have actually skimmed through the Zapathustra summary, but I wasn't familiar about the nukes! Could you link the relevant book? \$\endgroup\$ – Ivan T. Oct 17 at 8:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IvanT. I'm not sure if it's in V20 yet, but in Revised this was detailed in the Ravnos clanbook and was referenced heavily in later splatbooks. Most of the info about the nukes comes from the Mage: the Ascension line of books, with some extra information in the final Wraith: the Oblivion books. Late Revised plots were intentionally interwoven among the WW product lines. Additionally, Ravnos was fighting Antediluvian-equivalent characters from Kindred of the East, had extremely high Fortitude, and it's the sunlight that ultimately killed it. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Oct 17 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IvanT. The whole fluff with the Ravnos Antidevelopment was in the Thin Bloods book, right at the very end. Also, it wasn't normal nukes - the Technocracy dropped their Spirit enhanced nukes that are specially for supernaturals. \$\endgroup\$ – VLAZ Oct 17 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Upper_Case Would the "sunlight" be the glow of the thermonuclear weapon going off? Because that would be a fun reading! \$\endgroup\$ – Cort Ammon Oct 18 at 5:16

Efficient? No. Effective? Maybe.

Anything dealing with an Antediluvian fundamentally can't be represented with the V:tM mechanics very well. At 10 dots, any Discipline is capable of anything the Storyteller can conceive-- their descriptions are even listed as Storyteller device, and nothing more!

The right vampire with the right stats and Disciplines can absolutely shrug off one (or more) atomic blasts (the Ravnos Antediluvian is the only explicit example of this I'm aware of). Even for Ravnos, two nuclear bombs, plus the combined assault of several Antediluvian-similar figures from Kindred of the East, were not enough to actually kill it. It was sunlight that ended it (though it's unclear if the sunlight caused damage Ravnos otherwise resisted, or if sunlight was just one type of damage among many and happened to strike off the last hit box).

But more importantly, a vampire old and powerful enough for a hunter to assume a nuclear weapon and massive innocent, collateral casualties is the best approach is also a vampire likely to be sufficiently smart, well-informed, and well-resourced to become aware of the plot in advance, and/or already has contingency plans to deal with such an assault.

Even a mortal can survive a nuclear blast if they're in a properly built underground bunker. If the plan is to get a nuclear bomb in the immediate vicinity of the Antediluvian and set it off, that's going to be extremely difficult to pull off for anyone. Especially a mortal.

Sunlight and True Faith are consistently shown to be the most reliable ways to counter vampires, as they have little to no ability to resist either (and in the case of True Faith, can offer some resistance to some of vampires' supernatural abilities). A hunter wouldn't necessarily have enough information to know all of this, and may indeed think that a nuclear weapon is the best plan, but it's definitely not guaranteed to work.

If you'd like to look at the specific references to Ravnos' final battle and destruction, Revised is the best source I'm aware of at present. The story is spread out across many of the books in the Time of Judgement series and across many product lines.

Key references can be found in ToJ books for Mage: the Ascension (that's where the nuclear weapons came from), Vampire: the Masquerade, and Wraith: the Oblivion, and the updated version of the Ravnos clanbook.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, what I'm hearing is... one needs True Faith in "The Bomb". A Church of the Atom, perhaps? :) \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Oct 17 at 19:17

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