Thaumatophilia takes place in a world where magic has run rampant. It is ubiquitous, cast eternally in the form of machines known as Thaumic Engines and used to move civilization through an industrial revolution and into something completely unrecognizable. These machines are produced and distributed by The University, an organization of mages that is ostensibly just an educational and advisory body but in actuality controls the world by dint of being the only people who can truly understand the extent of the thaumic engines. To everyone else, they are simply unknowable technology, provided free of cost and regardless of desire.
Magic as it was once cast no longer exists, the world’s connection to it severed by means unknown, along with any form of contact with other planes. The thaumic engines are instead powered by azoth, a crystal refined from the latent magical energy in all things; rocks, water, trees, people. These objects are transmuted and rendered down into raw azoth, which is then processed into fuel crystals. The world long ago ran out of simple renewable resources for transmutation, and the planet is now a blasted wasteland, miles of land being stripped away in sheets to produce more azoth. All that remains are enormous, sprawling city-states, each independently governed but all featuring a strong University presence.