It will soon be time to jump into processing in a serious way. I've done occasional B&W over the past few years (and my technique needs improvement), but I've never really delved into developers.

The information here and elsewhere on the web is great, and now it's time to learn how to apply the "book"-knowledge.
I want to get a feel for what can be done.

Polypan F (of which I've read quite a lot about) sounded like fun, so I now have 90 meters, but I also have some Ilford, and intend to experiment with Kodak as well. My intention is to shoot (and bracket) several rolls of 35mm per experiment. Even if I don't print any of my experiments, my ultimate goal is optical printing.

At this time, I need to see "obvious" differences - things a beginner can notice easily. (I've a little dark room experience from elementary school and my undergrad, but now want to actually _understand_ what I'm doing.) When I get better I can then learn about the finer points. I have tried push-processing twice, but don't yet have a full appreciation of it beyond theory.

So far, I've only ever used D-76 at stock strength.
Please suggest some developers, and how I can "play" with each one. To start, I intend to use three or four developers, each being a different class from one another. One will be D-76, and one will NOT be caffenol (that will come with time, though). All fresh 35mm film in daylight tanks.

I am not trying to find the "perfect" developer or end up with "perfect" negatives in the experiments. I want to see differences both within and between chemicals.
Obviously I'm trying to learn about grain and tonality, and how some tools are better for certain situations or can create a certain/different feel. However, I'm open to extremes and just about anything interesting - so long as I learn.

Oh, and a "stupid" question... I can use the same stop and fixer regardless of developer, right?