Help me figure this thing out
Help me out, fellow gamers. But first, a confession: I have never played d20. By that, I mean no D&D, no Pathfinder, no d20 Star Wars. Nothing. The closest I've come is playing Knights of the Old Republic, which I understand is exactly the same thing, but somewhat more limited. Knowing that, I just need a little help getting acclimated so that I may better serve you, the gaming community.
The next phase of my Complete Characters is adding stats from various relevant open gaming systems, and obviously the d20 fantasy/modern are at the top of that list. It's everywhere, thanks to its place as the original system to go OGL. If aliens are watching us from the upper atmosphere, peering through telescopes and furiously typing notes on their space-Macs, trying to learn our language, it's the d20 lingo that they undoubtedly think is Earth Geek Standard. I, too, must learn to speak it.
I'm a relatively accomplished gamer, so the system doesn't really intimidate me. I understand stat builds and Occupations and Feats and Skills with very little difficulty, and when I trip and fall on these basic mechanical issues, I'm caught by the loving arms of the Internet and its various resources. What there is no substitute for, however, is live repetitions. I have no in-game context to gauge some of the finer points of the system, and that's where I need your help today.
If I may, please allow me to get your thoughts on a few subjects by jumping below the fold. Pretty please?