Character sets allow you to set keyframes for a number of parameters at the same time. They provide a way to keyframe entire poses in stead of the changes to individual controllers.
In Maya, you can make (parts of) a bound mesh behave like cloth, by turning the bound mesh into a nCloth and using the original as a target,
How to use the Andy Rig.
The basic features of the Andy Rig are explained in a video.: