I agree with you on number 1, but I think that’s an EA thing. I wouldn’t worry about it. But you should be able to click the monster icon on the initiative bar to select it.
Regarding number 2, Encourage is the Special Ability of the Minstrel, not an ability granted by an item. Check the help screen for a listing of all of the Special Abilities of the heroes.
Regarding number 3, each stat is your percentage chance of rolling a success for an item that uses that stat. So the higher the stat, the more likely you are to roll a success on an individual die. But many abilities require X number of successes to proc an effect. Short of that, each success will do damage that I believe to be the number of dice rolled divided by the max damage times the number of successes.
If you join the game’s Discord server, you’ll be able to interact with the receptive devs and gain access to the current beta branch, which is being used to test design changes to the push-the-player-forward mechanic. The devs are encouraging players to try it and provide feedback.