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.

The first campaign uses the Curse of Strahd module, much to the surprise of the 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 27-34: Behind Silver Eyes
- Episodes 35-Present: House of the Rising Spoops

Podcast 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.  The TI episode for Podcasts of Foes came out on May 14th, 2018 and the TI episode for Podcasts of Waterdeep released on September 12th, 2018.  The PoA, PoF and PoWD events are accessible via Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeon Delve RSS feed.

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 Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/TakingInitiative.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/taking-initiative/id1200286787


Cast & Crew

Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster


-The Spark Network Co-Founder
-Artistic Director
-Main Episode Editor
-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, 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.

Nick Figueroa


-Bonus Content Editor
-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
-Finishing Editor
-Cast Member

Professionally, Josh is an online/conform editor with credits in CBS's Blue Bloods, Sundance TV's Hap and Leonard, HBO’s High Maintenance, and the feature film American Assassin, among other things.  Unprofessionally, he is a tatted up dad, DM, gamer, musician, calculator, curly-haired beardy-face with a soft spot for logic and strategy.  Turn ons include calm, intelligent conversations and a love for root beer.  Turn offs include being terrible to other people and not liking root beer.  Josh is the originator for the Wizards of the Coast Podcasts of... series, as well as the co-writer/planner for Podcasts of Waterdeep.

Drew Tillman


-The Spark Network Co-Founder
-Continuity and Project Manager
-Bonus Content Editor
-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.


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

Adam Carnevale (D&D is for Nerds)  -  Thunder
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Biter
Joel Zammit (D&D is for Nerds)  -  Raindrop


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

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

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


Everyone is Jon
[DM'd by Max Hadson]

Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  John
Cody "Actual Jim Henson" Cardarelli  -  John
Nicholas Figueroa  -  John
Kyle Reagin  -  John
Drew Tillman  -  John


Hackinstone's Gambit (Podcasts of Annihilation)
[DM'd by Josh Perault]

Adam Carnevale (D&D is for Nerds)  -  Thunder
Jon "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 Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster]

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


I've Shadowfallen and I Can't Get Up (Podcasts of Foes)
[DM'd by Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster]

Morgan Conroy  -  Ray
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Calla
Josh Perault  -  Johann
Drew Tillman  -  Agmnon


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

Jon "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
Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  Heintz
Donna Fenimore  -  Snow
Josh Perault  -  Henrik
Robert Segarra (Nerds on a Roll)  -  Gary
Volonda (The Lucky Die)  -  Grimette the Flaming Comet

Meanwhile in Barovia: The Ghost
[DM'd by Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster]

Casey (The Lucky Die)  -  Natalya Alexandrovna Alyokhina
Celeste Conowitch (The Venture Maidens)  -  T.A.N.K.
Jonathan Serna (Dungeon Drunks)  -  Billy Beau Bob Boom
Sage Stafford (The Venture Maidens)  -  Aeshlynn


Meanwhile in Barovia: The Marionette
[DM'd by Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster]

Casey (The Lucky Die)  -  Natalya Alexandrovna Alyokhina
Celeste Conowitch (The Venture Maidens)  -  T.A.N.K.
Jonathan Serna (Dungeon Drunks)  -  Billy Beau Bob Boom
Sage Stafford (The Venture Maidens)  -  Aeshlynn 


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

Juls (Dungeon Drunks)  -  Surnia Reedfellow
John Sedlack (Dungeon Drunks)  -  Otus Reedfellow
Volonda (The Lucky Die)  -  Grimette the Flaming Comet


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

Juls (Dungeon Drunks)  -  Surnia Reedfellow
John Sedlack (Dungeon Drunks)  -  Otus Reedfellow
Volonda (The Lucky Die)  -  Grimette the Flaming Comet

Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands
[Presented by Loren Peterson (Nerds on a Roll)]

Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster
Cody "Actual Jim Henson" Cardarelli
Casey (The Lucky Die)
Kim Hadson
Max Hadson
Jeremy Sickels
Drew Tillman

Podcasts of Waterdeep: Episode 03
[DM'd by Josh Perault]

Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  Petros
Morgan Conroy  -  Charlotte
James D’Amato (One Shot RPG) - Scrach
Kelly Lynne D’Angelo (Girls Guts Glory) - Valindra
Nicholas Figueroa  -  Chirp
Drew Tillman  -  Krusk

The Wild Sheep Chase
[DM'd by Drew Tillman]

Jon "Bucky" Buckmaster  -  Dryft
Morgan Conroy  -  Kennedy
Donna Fenimore  -  Amethyst
Nick Figueroa  -  Felix

Notable Credits/Thanks

Donna Fenimore
Cast member

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

Greg Tito & Wizards of the Coast
Working together to form the Podcasts of... events

Our Patrons

Guild Artisans
Geoffrey Ali  ||  Joshua Andres || Kit Battlebeard
Patrick Briggs || Eivor  ||  Vanessa Haas  ||  Lilth

Adam Ali  ||  Anonymous  ||  Julien Beal
Jacquelyn Greene  ||  Rob Murphy
Brittany Sipe  ||  Raymond Stanek  ||  Christopher Tate
Thirsty Puppet  ||  Margaret Thaden || UndeadBan
Zach Walls || Adam Wilson  ||  Matthew Woodyard

Max Hadson  ||  Kati Kawaguchi
Kenna May  ||  Hayley Robinson-Smith
Robert Segarra

Town Guards
Sage Stafford  ||  Venture Maidens  ||  Volonda

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

Behind Silver Eyes

Original Art by Kati Kawaguchi
Modified for Arc by Josh Perault