Anyway. I do like the idea of reducing the rate/number of skills a faction
can pick up. One way is to make an absolute limit on the number of nobles
a faction can directlty create. I'd be tempted to suggest 5. These are the
only ones which can be oath-loyal. Any others you pick up via payment or
fear are extra to this.
Also, allow nobles to only specialise in one category of skills. That way you
might have a faction with only combat or magic skills, and would need to hire
the services of a shipbuilder etc.
That might help.
My biggest problem with the game, though was the way many people would randomly
attack nobles for no good reason. Than happened to me only twice, but it
was extremely frustrating. The second time I reckon I could easily have
flattened the culprit militarily, but it would have taken so many noble-days
and orders of training and making and equipping and marching down there to
do it, I couldn't be bothered.
Some way of automating these boring tasks [standing orders for nobles, if you
like] might help. I believe I even suggested you should be able to hire NPC
nobles to do them for you [an NPC sergeant might train peasants into soldiers
for instance] This and fewer nobles would mean the PC directly controlled
nobles would do all the interesting stuff, and the NPCs would walk the trade
routes, and get mugged etc [less emotional ties to just some poor smuck NPC
noble who gets killed rather than your 'mage who needs the money for research'
who happens to be doing it himself.]
Just my two pennies.
[Faction Curumo in the playtest for anyone who cares]