Sorry I missed this question about Exploding but:

As mentioned, the rulesheet explicitly states that neither the Exploding Monster or any of the Monsters hit with the Wound may be saved, either for their red X's or for completing Backstories. They do, however, still drop Loot when they die.

Abilities that take place when a Monster is "defeated" only apply for the Exploding Monster, since it is the only one being actually defeated in battle. So the Encourage ability would not come into play if the Monster with it died in the explosion, but it WOULD come into play if the Exploding Monster had it (not that I think we made any monsters with that combo, but still).

Unique monsters CAN be hit with the Explosion ability by the rules, but it is an entirely reasonable house rule to say that they can't. It just might lengthen your endgame, which is not what we wanted for The Shortening.

Quote Originally Posted by Sermil View Post
Also... Is it just me, or did the Shortening REALLY overpower Elan? Before, he started with the pretty weak X-Treme Diplomacy as his main weapon; just a +1 defense. Now, he can start with the Rapier, which has +3 defense! Since most of what you want in the early game is defense (since you use it each time you explore a new room), it seems like he's actually better than Roy at battling monsters when he starts.
The explicit intent was to give Elan more power at the early stages; our playtesting showed that he's among the hardest character to "get going," especially in a playgroup that gets stingy with asking for assistance. The starting Rapier doesn't really change his mid- and late-game power level too much, though, because having more than one out does not increase the numbers at all—it just allows his +3 to be used for both Attack and Defense. Compare to Roy, whose Attack and Defense go up with each additional Greenhilt Sword. Having Dashing Swordsman out does make it better on Attack (but not Defense), but there's a strong temptation to flip that for the two extra movement every time someone drops a huge Loot pile on the board.

Also, as mentioned, Flying is one of the most common Monster abilities, so you're getting Roy's weakness along with only some of his strength.