One principle underlying the magic and metaphysics of Edgewhen is that nothing has a microscopic cause. At the macroscopic level, Edgewhen is very similar to our world. But it has no mysteries that can be explained only through modern science.

Infection and Disease

Edgewhen has no microorganisms. And so there is no infection or disease (with the exception of certain macroscopic plant diseases such as insect galls and parasitic fungi).

Rot and Decay

But things do rot and decay in Edgewhen. Decay is accomplished not through digestion by microscopic organisms, but rather by the leaking of elemental Life out of the world. Living creatures, whether trees, squirrels, or people, maintain corporeal form only because of elemental Life. As that Life leaks out, the other elements dissipate.

Atoms and Molecules

These do not exist on Edgewhen. Water is not made of hydrogen and oxygen. It is made of elemental Water. In fact, all liquids are made of elemental Water (although most will have traces of other elements as well).


If there are no electrons, then you can’t power anything with electricity. It doesn’t exist on Edgewhen.

Of course, there is lightning. But it is made of Light and Heat. In The Dragonslayer of Edgewhen, a dragon makes lightning that contains only Light.


Magnetism is seriously weird. Most of the stuff in our world doesn’t behave like magnets. So there is really no reason for anything in Edgewhen to behave like a magnet either.

However, some materials in Edgewhen do have special properties. In The Artificer of Dupho, Kittiwake employs a “sympathetic garnet”. This rock changes color when it is near a concentration of elemental Emotion.

Can This Work?

In general, if a technology relies on physics or biology that would seem miraculous to someone in a pre-industrial world, that technology probably doesn’t work on Edgewhen.

So How Does This Work?

In general, an educated character’s understanding of metaphysics is correct. If a character explains that ice is Earth and Water, and that melting is caused by destruction of the Earth to leave only Water behind, then that is a pretty close approximation of the truth on Edgewhen.

If I write that, I’m not being cute. I’m not winking at the reader. I’m not mocking the character for not understanding how cold-temperature water molecules crystalize into a solid form.

If you went to Edgewhen and set up an experiment to see what the water molecules do when ice melts, you would discover that your apparatus cannot find any molecules. And if you had the ability to sense elemental Earth and Heat, you would be able to see the Earth pushed out of the world as the Heat enters the melting ice.


Most natural phenomena in Edgewhen appear identical to their counterparts in our world, but they have a different metaphysical explanation. If you do an experiment that can distinguish the Edgewhen explanation from our explanation, you will discover that the Edgewhen explanation is correct and that our explanation makes no sense.