<lets out a breath of relief>
I'm sorry, Stormchild, but what you described to me read like everything I hate about D&D4. Everyone does the same things the same way, with different adjectives stapled on.
My biggest fear in TorgE is (still, if I'm being honest) that Magic, Miracles, and Psionics - and quite possibly Tech, Martial Arts, and anything else - will feel like that: cookie-cutter effects with a handful of keywords that are supposed to make them feel `different'. Having reluctantly accepted that oTorg was too complicated with its, "80% entirely new game for every world" approach, I'm still doubtful that they're going to be able to make Perks differentiate those things enough even from each other, let alone make a spellcaster from the Cyberpapacy feel terribly different from Aysle, or two different Aysle magicians feel very different from each other.
Some things they've said have made me hopeful, but I'm still worried, and I am reminding myself over and over that it's not fair to expect these differences to be clear in the core book. They really weren't in oTorg, either, and Dean has outright said these differences are important to them but won't really be felt until the Cosm books come out and... that's totally reasonable and I *will remember this* when I get the core rules and not freak out about it.
...OK, amended promise: I'll probably freak out about it, but I'll do it on my own time and calm down and remember that before I come back to the forum. Deal? Deal.
Anyway, yeah; if every Cosm turned out to do the same thing in the same way with different MacGuffins? "You say Abracadabra, you cry out to Lanala, and you push the third button on your arm. You produce a burst of flame, you produce a burst of light, and you produce a laser, all exactly 30 feet long. Everybody roll identical damage." Blah.
I would be most wroth. Which, um, doesn't mean much except that I won't see much point in buying different Cosm books when I can do that myself, so US wouldn't get as much of my money in the long run. That's about as scary as I get.
But what I really mean to say is... hearing that that is not the plan, I have hope that I'll be pleasantly surprised and they'll really come out to be different. That would be awesome.
<deep breath> Really, I think I do see more what you're looking for, Stormchild - like, a toolbox to build with? And if it has enough trappings, it can get away from that feeling that everyone's the same. Talislanta, once it hit 4th Edition and finally admitted that it needed a system and not just lots and lots of setting, actually did a pretty good job with that... But that takes a lot of trappings, and I think it helped that their 'core effects' were kept, overall, very vague and solidly Meta.