I think something needs to be done in general to improve the economy
in Oly. I believe that most of the "trade" income in Oly is actually
from people cashing in large amounts of trade goods they've captured
from monster lairs, and not from actually city-to-city trading.
However, the perrenial shortage of nobles is an underlying problem.
If you're up against your limit of NPs, are you really going to expend
NPs to run a noble back and forth between two cities?
It might be interesting to add a second-class noble ("factor") which
could be purchased at a rate of (say) 5 factors per NP. Factors would
be something like controlled units now. They could move, carry
things, and buy and sell, but not attack, explore, sail, make, etc.
Also, they could not move into any province that a noble hadn't
already visited, to prevent them from being used as explorers (Oly
already tracks this information). They would have a combat factor of
(say) (5,5,0), so they wouldn't be useful as "cheap troops". This
would make them useful as traders and as couriers without unbalancing
the game unduly.
-- Scott T.