Persuade the Jovial Contrarian

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From: Debating Matters of Business with the Board

He takes whatever line no one else agrees with.

Game Instructions: The more other board members take your side, the more difficult the Contrarian will be to persuade.

Unlocked with Board Member: Jovial Contrarian

Locked with Jovial Contrarian's Vote

Challenge information

Broad, Persuasive 250

  • 171 - very chancy (41%)
  • 213 - chancy (51%)
  • 255 - modest (61%)
  • 296 - very modest (71%)
  • 338 - low-risk (81%)
  • 380 - straightforward (91%)
  • 417 - straightforward (100%)

The above challenge info is obtained at Question before the Board of 320, with Uncommitted Board Members of 3. Base difficulty is 400 - ( Uncommitted Board Members x 50).


He is convinced!

"I'll vote with you," he says. "Assuming you hold the vote soon." Don't give it long enough for him to change his mind.

Description summary:
The text varies with the Question before the Board. The text above is the generic result[1]; questions with more specific results are listed below.

[Find the rest of the story at]

  1. Used for questions 9-19, 21, 24, 26 - 30, 32, 33, 35, 37, 200, 210 - 280, 931, 933, 934
QuestionSuccess Description
1 - 2, 4, 520 - 523, 525 - 529"Might as well go that way as any other," says the Contrarian. "I'd imagine we'll find something to prove it was a bad idea, whichever way we turn."
3"It's the most efficient way," says the Contrarian. "You won't convince me otherwise."
5"A good choice," he says, grinning at the annoyance of the rest of the board.
7"No one will want to go to Station VIII," he says. "And those who are there won't be happy to see us arrive. Therefore, I vote whole-heartedly in favour of both the ends and the means. Station VIII ho!"
20"The Tentacled Entrepreneur does not offer much argument," says the Jovial Contrarian. "And therefore is not a particularly satisfying debating partner. I would endorse replacing him with someone more capable of provocation."
22"Ah," says the Jovial Contrarian, not meeting your eye. "I believe our esteemed colleague may indeed have some pressing and important work outside the boardroom." He knows who she is, perhaps.
23"Oh, yes, send him back to Jericho, or points west," says the Jovial Contrarian. "He is too straightforward for these deliberations."
31"An irritatingly consistent man," says the Jovial Contrarian. "He must go."
100, 105, 115 - 150, 170"The plans are acceptable," says the Jovial Contrarian. "Unless I think of something wrong with them within the next few minutes."
160"A frozen patch of the Neath with very little to recommend it and rumours of ghastly danger. I can't wait," says the Contrarian.
181"Being near London is a risk, and I am suspicious of your motives," says the Contrarian. "Then again, it would make logistics easier. I vote aye."
182"Trade unionists are best kept away from the police," says the Contrarian. "Then again, perhaps the cyclopean architecture will be inspiring. I vote aye."
183"Seems foolish to plant a city for working people in view of the Empress' own summer cottage," says the Contrarian. "Then again, Balmoral does afford certain opportunities. And it is a good central location on the railway line. I vote aye."
184"This stinks of the Masters' plotting," says the Contrarian. "Then again, perhaps Fires and the rest could be biting off more than they can chew with this one. I vote aye."
185"This reeks of proselytism," says the Contrarian. "Then again, perhaps a church will give the new settlement an initial sense of community. I vote aye."
186"Are you sending them to build a city upon the desolate dark waste out of spite? Or is there some other motive - ah, I see. I suppose I will allow it."
187"Is this some scheme to give Hell a ready supply of souls?," asks the Contrarian. "Then again, it is as far away from the Masters as you can get – by train, anyway. I vote aye."
205"I'll vote with you," he says. Then he adds, "I don't find the train terribly convenient myself unless there is more room for my chair and possessions."
230, 250, 310 - 320, 340"I can think of many reasons why not," says the Contrarian. "So I vote yes."
300"An excellent charter," says the Contrarian. "It is long-winded, ambiguously worded, and bound to yield many fruitful arguments in the future."
400The Jovial Contrarian agrees that it is time the shareholders enjoyed the benefits of their position and their hard work
500"Parabola will be the least costly and the most direct of routes," says the Jovial Contrarian. "In fact, I propose we do the majority of our travel via that route. A small expenditure in glass would remove a great deal of effort."
510"Hellworms," says the Jovial Contrarian. "One must admire the advertising enterprise of giving them such a name."
600"An endorsement is much less entertaining than a vigorous speech entirely undermining each candidate in turn," says the Jovial Contrarian. "But in this circumstance, let me proclaim whole-heartedly: OTHATAROOTH!"
610 - 620"An endorsement is much less entertaining than a vigorous speech entirely undermining each candidate in turn," says the Jovial Contrarian. "But in this circumstance I believe I can join the cause."
700"Castellan is a good word," says the Contrarian. "Underused. I'm in favour of it."
710The Jovial Contrarian looks even more jovial than usual at this prospect. What would one call that look? Sparkling? Gleaming? Aglow? Perhaps his heart warms at the thought of someone almost as argumentative as himself.
720"Why not!?" demands the Contrarian. "I think she would cause a delightful amount of disruption."
800"A dull choice," says the Contrarian. "But if he's unpopular, perhaps he'll do."
850"He'll do," admits the Contrarian. "Though I would have preferred to see him and Furnace running the place together. I imagine their battles were fantastic."
905"I'm sure she'll be perfect," the Contrarian says with a smile. "I can't wait to see what she believes next."
910"I'm sure we can spare his company," the Contrarian says smiling at the Bishop. "Do let us know if you need help packing."
932"This is a completely deranged idea." He smiles. "I vote yes."
940"Others will say that this is a waste of money and resources that could be put to better use helping the people of the Hinterlands directly," the Contrarian remarks. "I vote aye."
941"Some may say that handing out money in spurts like this is only a meaningless palliative put against severe inequities," the Contrarian remarks. "I vote aye."
1000, 1010, 1030[…] "So far as I can see, we have in fact been very fortunate with this arrangement. The Tower is not asking us to pay the old debts of the Bazaar –"

"So far," says another voice.

"Just so," […] "I say we accept the arrangement."
1100, 1110"To try and win a War in a land that rejects permanence? Of course I'm in favour! So long as I am allowed to go aboard when the train makes the crossing."
1200"London won't like the city being that close, and the city won't like London looking over its shoulder. It is a delightful scheme and we should put it forward at once."

Redirects to: Debating Matters of Business with the Board



[See table below]

QuestionFailure Description
1 - 3, 7, 9, 520 - 523, 525 - 529"Have you considered laying the track in an eastward direction?" recommends the Contrarian. "There are a number of intriguing localities to which we could turn our attention."
4"The word 'thirsty' gives me pause."
5"There is much to say against this plan," […] he proceeds to adduce every reason from cost to delay to an aesthetic displeasure at the name 'monkprince,' which […] shows a very poor understanding of the proper separation of Church and nobility.
10 - 12, 14, 23, 24, 26 - 29, 32, 33, 35, 37"In my view, we should be looking to increase the number of Board members, not to decrease it." The Jovial Contrarian needles you about wishing to silence a healthy debate.
13"No," says the Jovial Contrarian. "I may have lost an election to her once, but I don't hold a grudge."
15"Oh, I think I owe Virginia some solidarity," remarks the Jovial Contrarian. "Mayor to Lord Mayor. Besides, where would this entire railway have been without her?"
16"Not Furnace!" says the Jovial Contrarian. "Please, you cannot get rid of Furnace Ancona. The woman has more opinions packed inside that helmet than I do."
17"I'd be very sorry to lose the Dean of Xenotheology," […] "I had never heard of her before the board, but she is a constant delight to me. She has been trying to teach me a prayer in the language of Rubbery Men, but I have not mastered the gurgling."
18"I would be very sorry to lose the Bishop of Saint Fiacre's. He is truly one of my most slippery and challenging opponents. Hard to bait, and constantly changing the grounds of his argument. He never trips himself up by being needlessly consistent."
19[…] "Until I joined the board, I had been so missing the opportunity to debate our good friend Reginald. There is no argument more satisfying than an argument with a true believer." He must be referring, of course, to the year he ran […] for Mayor […]
20"Remove the Tentacled Entrepreneur?" repeats the Jovial Contrarian. "I thought of you as a more open-minded person."
21"Some of my colleagues will remember that I ran for Mayor on a platform of law and order," […] "[…] it may surprise some of the board to know that I have the greatest respect […] The Gracious Widow is one of our most effective members."
22For once, the Jovial Contrarian does not seem to be joking. "I highly value the input of my note-making colleague," […] "I consider it one of the Board's greatest triumphs to attract her participation, and to lose her would be a loss to the company."
30"What? […] January is an old and dear friend– well, no. January is a–. January will be difficult if you offend her. […] I've done it many times […] It's such a bother making one's apologies and I really recommend that you avoid the necessity."
31"Well," says the Jovial Contrarian, with a meaning smile. "The Functionary's presence is so enlivening. I don't know why anyone would ever want him to go away."
100, 105, 115 - 150There is no station design that is the right size for the Jovial Contrarian. If you propose something modest, he complains about the absence of a waiting room. If you suggest a grander structure, he complains of the expense.
160, 170There's no station design that will please the Contrarian. If you propose a large one, he complains about the expense of heating it; if you suggest a small one, he counters that it might look too dismal in the icy landscape.
181"Ready access to London markets will make logistics easier. Your proposal is well-argued and carefully considered," says the Contrarian. "Very suspicious. I vote nay."
182"Far enough from London for independence, not so far as to encounter frontier hardship. Your proposal is well-argued and carefully considered," says the Contrarian. "Very suspicious. I vote nay."
183"Ha! I imagine this will ruin the view from the Empress' own battlements. Your proposal is well-argued and carefully considered," says the Contrarian. "Very suspicious. I vote nay."
184The Jovial Contrarian glares. "Have we considered building this new city somewhere more sensible? Polythreme, perhaps. Or Kingeater Castle."
185"A good location, and the Burrow church will give the new settlement an initial community. Your proposal is well-argued and carefully considered," says the Contrarian. "Very suspicious. I vote nay."
186"Isolated, far from prying eyes. A place that would allow the city to flourish independent of outside forces. Your proposal is well-argued and carefully considered," says the Contrarian. "Very suspicious. I vote nay."
187"Well, it is as far as you can get from the Masters. By train, anyway. Your proposal is well-argued and carefully considered," says the Contrarian. "Very suspicious. I vote nay."
200"Shouldn't our train represent Peace?" asks the Contrarian. "Doesn't it send the wrong message for the emissaries of London to arrive among our neighbours riding a battle-caboose?"
205"I feel a little awkwardness in supporting the means of crime and corruption," says the Contrarian. "Unless you mean to tell me this will never be used in pursuit of smuggling."
210"Plush seats!" rumbles the Contrarian. "Velvet curtains! Dining china! What will be next? Do you propose to affix an Opera Car to the train so that the passengers may enjoy an assortment of light musicales?"
220"We shouldn't give them the payout they requested. We should provide them with a piece of the company." The Contrarian stares around the table with provocation in his gaze.
230"Surely this is going too far?" demands the Jovial Contrarian. "It would have a significant cost to the existing shareholders in the Company."
240"I must condemn this motion in the strongest terms," says the Jovial Contrarian. "We have entered into work with the Tracklayers in good faith."
250 - 280"I condemn the motion in the strongest terms," says the Jovial Contrarian. He always does this, often just before changing his mind.
300The Contrarian admires the proposed form of words, but suggests two other and completely different alternates 'for the consideration of the company'.
310 - 320, 340, 932"You'd be disappointed if I agreed too easily," observes the Contrarian. "I am pleased to say no."
400"Allow me to make the other case, […] The Hellbound Railway should be paying out a much larger dividend than you have proposed, for the simple reason that it must compensate its directors and shareholders for the risk to their souls."
500"Yes, one might turn to the Fingerkings for their assistance," remarks the Jovial Contrarian, in a languid voice. "If the building of the Railway were a conjuring trick, and the western Neath were Mahogany Hall."
510"Beasts rented from Hell that have law-furnaces for intestines," says the Contrarian. "On behalf of the workers required to manage these creatures, may I offer a hearty veto?"
600"Wouldn't we rather put forward F.F. Gebrandt?" suggests the Jovial Contrarian. "Her commitment to drugging the Neath is commendable. It has never been easier for a person to take one view in the morning and a different one by nightfall."
610[…] "Perhaps the more astute on the board will have observed that the Viscountess is […] a house cat. On this side of the mirror […] If she undertakes to curb the Neddy men, or bring the Constables in line, how do you suppose she will do it? […]"
700"Terrible idea," he says. "Set up more jurisdictions out along the railway and they'll only cause us trouble. Make regulations, set taxes." Another day he might argue in favour of just those things, as he himself is willing to admit.
710"Too many of my esteemed colleagues are in favour," remarks the Jovial Contrarian. "I would otherwise wholeheartedly support the affair, but the unanimity of the acclaim... no, it is too concerning.
720, 800, 850, 905, 910, 931, 933, 934"Not a chance," insists the Contrarian, plainly goading you.
940 - 941"Others will point out that this it is both morally righteous and good business sense to make sure the Railway does its part to help the impoverished folk of the Hinterlands," the Contrarian says. "I vote nay."
1000, 1010, 1030"It looks like a sensible arrangement […] consequently, it does not rise to the standards that I would expect for the dealings of Londoners. When have we shown restraint? […] Shouldn't our contracts be outlandish and impossible to fulfil?"
1100, 1110"It is an entirely splendid idea and one which I cannot bring myself to support. Have you thought of doing something more tedious? Sending an omnibus through instead for example. That would definitely put the fear of something in the enemy."
1200"If they're kept apart, they'll maintain a stronger mutual dislike," says the Contrarian. "The stronger the disagreement, the more exciting the effect upon the Neath."

Redirects to: Debating Matters of Business with the Board