Allow big towns over X level or over X residents to access /ah.
Some towns (like mine) mostly produce to sell and it's weird to go to capitals that normally are forts, unpeaceful and no signs of trading. For example in my case: Trapezica & Kiev are the nearest ones and both are forts.
The problem is that expanding /ah access will be yet another nail in the coffin for mercantile uses of Movecraft and the emergent gameplay that stems from that, such as piracy. Under the current arrangement, you do at least need to visit nation capitals which - in theory - promotes infrastructure development since they are few and far between. I certainly see the benefits from allowing large towns to access /ah but don't know whether they outweigh the negatives.
Mercantile movecraft economy was never meant to be tbh. I've never heard of a situation where people wanted to buy so many resources they'd use a cargo ship for transport. Their main utility is transporting resources between nation towns. I'm neutral on this suggestion, but I do think your concerns are based on a negligible form of trade.
If you want to promote movecraft, why isn't /ah removed or has restrictions added?
I think adding restrictions like taxes per transactions should be implemented and not left optional for towns. No more tax havens!
- Town has > 20 residents, is peaceful and won't be exclusive of capitals.
- Auction houses would have its own plot. (Not sure if you can create a plot type for /ah in the towny plugin?)
If its possible:
- Owning an /ah plot will have an added tax to your daily upkeep, but shop plots won't have upkeep: it will use the tax set to a minimum so everyone pays.
- Maybe nations should have limited quantity of auction houses?
What to do with the tax? Divide between /ah upkeep and little benefits for the nation and town.
The /ah feature is, in my opinion, an already very powerfull feature in a geopolitical as it allows great materials transportation across great distances for most of the players, sacrificing both the Movecraft mercantile market and the town's chest shop, specially taking in count the recent Peaceful Town Restriction and the fact the most nations have very few Unpeaceful towns, normally being the Capital one of them. Expanding it further would mainly (keyword) be in favour of lazy players who do not wish to leave their town to make a relative long trip or are too afraid to lose their resources on a bigger trip.
Note: Not all the supporters are in the mentioned 2 groups of players but the large majority is.
The only way to make movecraft actually useful for trade is to remove the action house all together and expand their cargo capacity. Which is preferable then? To add auction houses to bigger towns, or to get rid of it entirely? Because I have never used Movecraft for trade and the only noticeable "emergent game play effect" I've seen from that is I just trade less because it is extremely inconvenient.