Taking Initiative is a Dungeons & Dragons 5e actual-play podcast.  The game is primarily centered around the storytelling and role-playing, but it certainly doesn't shy away from the humor, both in and out of game.  The DM and players range from beginners to veterans, giving it a wide spectrum for both the group and its audience.  Come for the people, stay for the story.

Its first campaign uses the Curse of Strahd module, much to the surprise of its players.  The arcs are as follows:
- Episodes 1-9: House of Spoops
Episodes 10-19: Barovian Rhapsody
Episodes 20-26: The Gunman Comes Around
Episodes 27-Present: Behind Silver Eyes

Episodes release every other Monday.

The first episode of Hackinstone's Gambit released during Wizards of the Coast's Podcasts of Annihilation on September 18th, 2017.  The entire adventure is on the Taking Initiative RSS feed.

Their second venture with Wizards of the Coast will be on May 14th, 2018 on the Dungeon Delve feed for Podcasts of Foes!

If you'd like to support the show, gain access to bonus content like cross-over games and one-shots, and get the episodes before anyone else, feel free to visit our Patreon at


Cast & Crew

Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster


-The Spark Network Co-Founder
-Artistic Director
-Cast Member

Your friendly neighborhood Bucky grew up in the mystical land of Long Island, N.Y., where he discovered who he truly was: a big f&$%in' nerd.  From video games and comics to film and TV, he embraced every nerdy thing he could find, but his particular skill set desired more.  Bucky graduated with a B.A. in theater, so improvisation skills plus tabletop role-playing caused everything to change (when the fire nation attacked).  When he's able to leave his editing cave and enjoy some free time, he plays a ton of video games, struggles to get in shape, fails to get in shape due to eating all of Donna's baked goods, cries about his inability to afford his tattoo addiction, develops accents and characters, and works in a post production facility for TV and film, alongside most of the other members.

Morgan conroy



-Cast Member

Morgan is a pop culture nerd and social justice paladin living in the best neighborhood of Brooklyn: Bay Ridge. (Yes, she knows that’s far. Yes, that’s the point). Her loves include Ruining The Thing by applying sociology to pop culture and media, drawing, doing silly voices, and playing D&D with the loveliest group of babes a nerdy gal could ask for.

Donna Fenimore


-Cast Member

From hair dying to baking, Donna does it all, but now she can add "nerding" to her repertoire. She could think of nothing more fun than playing zany and wacky characters with her best friends in the world. Donna enjoys survival video games, as well as Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and telling people she’s half Asian with the normal response that no one can see it. But she is. It’s factual.

Nick Figueroa


-Cast Member

Nick is a feature color assistant from Jersey who has no idea who let him work in the film industry, but he absolutely loves every second of it.  He loves traveling more than being home and has a laughably horrible memory, which may be due to the overwhelming amount of useless comic and movie knowledge.  Nick never takes himself seriously, but will never turn down a dance battle.  Ever.

Josh Perault



-The Spark Network Co-Founder
-Website & Distribution Director
-Cast Member

Josh is an online/conform editor with credits in season 8 of CBS's Blue Bloods, season 2 of Sundance TV's Hap and Leonard, HBO’s High Maintenance, and the feature films American Assassin and Keeping Up with the Joneses.  Originally from Long Island, N.Y., Josh graduated from Dowling College and started working in Manhattan to accomplish his goal of becoming an editor.

Drew Tillman


-The Spark Network Co-Founder
-Continuity and Project Manager
-Cast Member

Created out of mud from a swamp deep in the heartlands of Georgia, Drew has since turned into a voracious reader, a storyteller, and an enthusiast for playing games with his friends. Now, he lives in New York and spends all of his free time creating things and listening to podcasts.


The "Curse of Strahd" Campaign
[DM'd by Josh Perault]

Jonathan "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  Ven
Morgan Conroy  -  Roz
Donna Fenimore  -  Callista
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Kent
Drew Tillman  -  Mykil, Abraham, Ferguson

With Special Guests
Celeste Conowitch (The Venture Maidens)  -  Rictavio / Van Richten
Kristen DiMercurio (Ars Paradoxica)  -  Wifey
Zach Valenti (Wolf 359)  -  Strahd Von Zarovich


Hackinstone's Gambit
[DM'd by Josh Perault]

Adam (D&D is for Nerds)  -  Thunder
Jonathan "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  Malaika
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Biter
Sage Stafford (The Venture Maidens)  -  Ramiel
Drew Tillman  -  Otto
Joel Zammit (D&D is for Nerds)  -  Raindrop


Into Ivy Mansion
[DM'd by Jonathan "Bucky" Buckmaster]

Morgan Conroy  -  Clementine
Donna Fenimore  -  Johanna
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Sebastian
Josh Perault  -  Morgan
Drew Tillman  -  Roscoe


Lab Rats
[GM'd by Loren Peterson (Nerds on a Roll)]

Jonathan "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  The Living Complex
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Kevin
Josh Perault  -  Fission
Drew Tillman  -  Velocity


Meanwhile in Barovia: The Beast
[DM'd by Drew Tillman]

Arch (The Lucky Die)  -  Theo
Jonathan "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  Heintz
Donna Fenimore  -  Snow
Josh Perault  -  Henrik
Robert Segarra (Nerds on a Roll)  -  Gary
Volonda (The Lucky Die)  -  Comet

Notable Credits/Thanks

Kati Kawaguchi (Nerds on a Roll)
Barovian Rhapsody and Hackinstone's Gambit logos

Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech)
Royalty-free music (credits in each episode's description)

Christian Madera & Zach Glass (The Once and Future Nerd)
Hosted our pilot episode

Neil Martin (The Lucky Die)
Theme songs and additional music
Editor for Into Ivy Mansion

Kyle Reagin
The Spark Network logo design/template

Our Patrons

Adam Ali  ||  Kit Battlebeard  ||  Eivor
Patrick Briggs  ||  Vanessa Haas  ||  Stuart Lange
Lilth  ||  Brittany Sipe  ||  Christopher Tate
UndeadBan  ||  Adam Wilson

Max Hadson  ||  Kati Kawaguchi
Thirsty Puppet  ||  Robert Segarra

Town Guards
Venture Maidens

Previous Logos


Original Logo: House of Spoops

by Josh Perault


Barovian Rhapsody

by Kati Kawaguchi

Hackinstone's Gambit

by Kati Kawaguchi


The Gunman Comes Around

Original Art by Kati Kawaguchi
Modified for Arc by Josh Perault