The 11 level cap, I’m kind of in both camps with, losing your level 15 might be a tragedy, but I think most of the time it will conflict with how fallible and human your men are meant to be if your veterans are too elevated from your recruits, and lead to great frustration (likely save scumming) as you lose what might be an irrecoverable loss as the game progresses in difficulty on the presumption you have super-soldiers.
I love and hate leveling up my brothers, I half think perhaps its not all that authentic due to the fact the glass ceiling is set only when they run into you.
By which I mean to say training a boy from scratch leads to less improvements than training an established mercenary. Like we’re taking a bodybuilder on and expecting him to double in strength.
It seems a little silly allowing tradesmen to be blank canvases, and I wonder if they started with randomised(by trade) perks, would retaining old hands be rendered more optimal. For instance a level two poacher has his points pre-invested into range, stamina and initiative, and has 2 archer perks selected.
To balance for that their recruitment costs could be lowered, idk though just spitballing.
Definitely the level cap could vary by difficulty, if not set separately by the player as an option.