Mutants & Masterminds is an effects-based system. HERO System is an effects-based system. In character creation, you pick the power effects you want your character to have, and then you add the descriptors that define what kind of powers they're going to be—a fiery blast? Or a blast of magnetic energy? Or acid? Or even gunfire? … yes, if you choose that descriptor, but still, a Damage effect is a Damage effect! And that's what you pay your character-building points for.
What I'm looking for is a superhero game system that is not effects-based, but descriptor-based. Meaning, if I want to build a Human Torch-type character, then I buy his flame as a descriptor, right? And whatever would logically come along with having that descriptor—flight, blasts of heat, etc.—they are included in the cost of buying that “flame powers” descriptor suite for my character.
Are there any superhero game systems that work this way? Any recent ones? Any good ones? I've heard that the old Marvel Super Heroes (MSHRPG) aka “the FASERIP system,” worked that way, but unfortunately for me, I've never had the pleasure of playing it. Can anyone recommend one, preferably one that's out currently?
I grew up on d20/OGL systems, so the closer it is to that “family” of systems—even if it's not even a “distant cousin,” even if it just has a little bit of the same “conceptual DNA”—the easier it will be for me to intuit and learn quickly. Not that it, by any means, must be d20 or point-based. Just that I'm looking for a descriptor-based (rather than effects-based) supers system, and if it's closer to point-based OR d20, that's a bonus. If it's GM interpretation-based, that's fine and good, either way.
Any recommendations would be most welcome and very appreciated.