Fantasy Counterpart Culture

"What is this 'Japan' you speak of? I have never heard of it before."
Samurai Miko Miyazaki, The Order of the Stick

It is difficult to be truly original when creating fiction, and even if one manages to pull it off, one runs the risk of putting off the audience by having one's creation seem too strange. Much safer, then, to make your setting contain human cultures that are take-offs of real ones.

This is especially common in fantasy settings, but by no means exclusive to it. It's often found in satire, as a means of indirectly poking fun at the culture in question. In such cases the countries may have significant names. This is why fantasy counterpart cultures can be full of Unfortunate Implications.

There are also sound literary reasons for using this trope. Making the Shire an idealized England transplanted to Middle-Earth makes it easier for readers to identify with the point of view characters, since they probably have much more in common with Bilbo than with Thorin. Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan is a thinly disguised historical novel, but changing the names of the countries and religions means the readers don't know how the story will end, helping to maintain dramatic tension.

Creating a completely new culture from scratch can be a daunting task. Thinking about everything the word culture encompasses - music, food, clothing, etiquette, dance, religion, and combative traditions, to name a few - can make one a bit more forgiving of such an artistic choice. It's also more easily justified in works containing humans: the Real Life counterparts of the fictional cultures have all actually come into existence and are the results of real groups of people coming together to build something over time. Basing a new society on one that's already had a turn at some point in human history can both help the audience relate and provide a creative framework to twist and turn said society into an interesting variant of its former self. This approach still has its risks, though - many Fantasy Counterpart Cultures are based on The Theme Park Version of a particular region of the world, lacking both depth and originality. (See Hollywood Atlas.)

Compare with Istanbul Not Constantinople, when a real place is referred to with a more archaic or obscure name (e.g. "Columbia" instead of "USA"). Compare also with Days of Future Past, where a futuristic society duplicates (often explicitly and intentionally) the culture and styles of a historical period. Compare with No Communities Were Harmed, which is this applied to a locality.

See also Culture Chop Suey, Space Romans (and the more offensive version, Space Jews). Medieval European Fantasy and Wutai are frequently-occurring specific types of fantasy counterpart culture.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Basically every planet that's not a Planet of Hats in Galaxy Express 999 ends up being one of these.
    • Dozens of planets are clones of The Wild West — it pretty much seems to be the default setting for a planet in this universe.
    • "The Planet of a Pint Sized Room" is an exact doppelganger of early-60s Tokyo complete with a college-aged Expy of the creator in his starving artist phase.
    • Planet Prometheum and Idle Reflection are very unflattering Eagle Lands (Type 1 and 2 respectively.)
    • Masspron is China.
    • The Planet of Forgotten Parents is the Philippines.
    • Planet Kilimanjaro's Grasshopper Men are white African settlers.
    • The other Planet Kilimanjaronote  is WWI-era Europe.
    • Planet Fury is New York City.
    • Planet Future is Canada.
    • The Planet of Illusive Love is Gay Paree complete with berets, baguettes, and a Foreign Legion.
    • Windy Hill is Scotland.
    • The Cheyenne Fish are Native Americans, the Waterpress are white settlers. (Just how a New World-Old World scenario managed to develop on a Water Planet is not explained.)
  • Fushigi Yuugi has each of the locations in the Universe Of The Four Gods designed after a real-world counterpart.
    • Kounan is basically southern China.
    • Kutou is eastern China.
    • Sairou is based on Tibet.
    • Hokkan is based off of Inner and Outer Mongolia.
  • In One Piece, the island nation of Wa-no-Kuni is very clearly this for feudal Japan, what with its isolationism and its samurai. ("Wa-no-kuni" is in fact an old way to refer to Japan.) Further on, the Shandians are pretty clear analogues for disenfranchised and displaced Native American populations, Alabasta is a fairly obvious portrayal of Ancient Egypt (with additional Middle Eastern influencing) and Dressrosa looks like a combination of Spain and the Island of Misfit Toys.
  • Roshtaria and the other human lands of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World are very clearly fantasy stand-ins for the Middle East of the Arabian Nights.
  • Hatsu from Tower of God is so obviously Japanese that it hurts.
  • The country of Amestris in Fullmetal Alchemist is based on a combination of European countries. It's ruled by a military dictatorship similar to Nazi Germany, but they speak English, and the military ranks are also English based (with the rank of Field Marshall replaced with the rank of Fuhrer). Character names are based on names found in various European nations such as the U.K and France. Also the technology used is the same or similar to the technology found around World War II.
    • Xing is the counterpart of the East Asian countries, most prominently China, though Fu and Lan Fan have obviously ninja-influenced fighting styles and weaponry and Ling wears sarashi so there's a little bit of Japan in there too. Ishbal is perhaps the counterpart of the Western Asian countries.
    • Additionally, Drachma is the counterpart to Russia, Xerxes seems to represent a mix of ancient European and Near-East civilizations, most predominately Greece, Persia, and maybe Rome, and the Japanese-exclusive Brotherhood/Mangaverse games seems to suggest that Aerugo is FMA's version of Italy.
    • In the 2003 anime version only, we find out this is literal, as Amestris is an actual Alternate Universe version of central/eastern Europe in the 1920s.
    • Paninya, Jerso, Focker, and an unnamed Central Library employee (anime only) are all black, implying that there's likely an Alternate Universe equivalent of the African continent as well.
    • Judging by the name, Sciezka/Sheska could be from a FMA counterpart of Poland.
  • Many of the nations in Kyou Kara Maou are vague approximations of Real Life nations, with Makoku being Medieval Europe and Konanshia-Subererea being the Middle East, among others. One of the most obvious is the Shildkraut nation. We are originally led to believe it's a parallel to Japanese hot spring towns, but then it's then used for a Viva Las Vegas episode, right down to the lights being recreated with magical stones.
  • In Mai-Otome, set in the distant future on another planet, there are some more or less evident matches between fictional and real nations, at least judging by the names of known inhabitants. Artai seems to be an Eastern European/Slavic/Chinese nation, Florince is France, the United Kingdom of Lutesia is a blend of ancient Rome and modern Italy, Aries is the United States, Annam is Vietnam, and Zipang is Japan (in fact, for the last two, those are real-world, if ancient, monikers for these countries).
    • Altai is named after a region that's adjacent to China, Russia and West Asia.
  • Strike Witches is very guilty of this, considering it's set in an alternate version of Earth during World War II. Based on the names of various characters, the Fuso Empire is Japan, Liberion is the United States, Karlsland is Germany (minus Those Wacky Nazis), Suomus is Finland, Orussia is Russia, Romagna is Italy, Gallia (no not that one--or that one) is France, and Britannia (not that one either) goes without saying. References are also made to Real Life locations, such as London, Yokosuka, and the Ural Mountains. Some of the Real Life currencies also carry over: While stationed in Britannia, the main character is paid in pounds, and Fuso's currency is the yen.
  • Some of the countries in Utawarerumono apparently takes place in real places in Japan. The protagonist's country is based on feudal Ezo (that's Hokkaido) with the people emulating Ainu culture but the most blatant one would be Shikeripetim which looks like a carbon copy of feudal Kyoto!
  • The Familiar of Zero takes place in a suspiciously medieval European setting. Based on the names (which are simply archaic names for the nations they represent), Tristain is Belgium or the Netherlands, Albion is Britain (complete with a rebel leader named Cromwell), Gallia is France, Romalia is Italy, and Germania is (obviously) Germany.
    • This is a little more complex. Halkeginia (Europe counterpart) is loosely based on seventeenth century Europe: the Kingdom of Gallia is the Kingdom of France with some Spain in it, the Kingdom/Holy Republic of Albion are respectively the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Republic (with some Germany in it), the Holy Empire of Romania is the Papal States (other parts of modern Italy don't have equivalents), the Empire of Germania is a combination of Germany, seventeenth century Austria and seventeenth century Poland, the Kingdom of Tristain is the Netherlands with some France in it, the Grand Duchy of Grudenholf is Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (and, as seventeenth century Luxembourg is under Austrian Netherlands rule, is under Tristain rule). There is also an unnamed state which could be Spain or Portugal. Outside of Halkeginia, there is also elfans' states like Sahara (Ottoman Empire) or humans' like Rub Al'khali (probably the Emirate of Diriyah).
  • Shaman King: Patch and Seminoa sounded a lot like Apache and Seminole. But the similarity is only linguistic. Not to mention the fact that the Big Bad has the name Hao, which is strangely similar to "How" (the stereotypical greeting used by the natives of North American in fiction).
  • There is a major case going on in Maiden Rose where half the countries aren't named but are easily culturally identifiable. Klaus comes from a small German state that was conquered by the Western Alliance superstate, also primarily German. This superstate is fighting the Eurotean superstate, which has pre-revolution Russia as the dominant culture. Eurote in turn subdued Taki's country, an unquestionable Japan analogue. If it weren't for the Magical Realism the story would probably be an outright Alternate History.
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit takes place in an Alternate Earth with an Alternate Ancient Far East.
  • 2 of the 3 invading countries in the second season of Magic Knight Rayearth are clearly based off of Earth cultures. Fahren is mostly based off of Chinese culture and stereotypes, although it does have a few Japanese things (such as ninjas). This is explicitly lampshaded by Fuu. Chizeta's culture seems to be based off of Middle-Eastern and Indian cultures, and the princesses fight using Djinn. However, they also have Osakan accents. Autozam's highly technological culture, while not as clear cut as Chizeta or Fahren, has a few parallels with the United States of America: the President's son is named Eagle Vision, the military has green berets, strongest of the three superpowers, and so on.
  • Shinka in Flower Flower is a counterpart to India.
  • The titular state in Saiunkoku Monogatari is a fantasy counterpart of Imperial China, especially that of the Tang and Song Dynasties.
  • The Vagan civilians in Mobile Suit Gundam Age dress and build in very Middle-Eastern style, while their soldiers and upper class dress in Space Clothes and feudal Japanese styles.
    • In the Universal Century, the different forms of Zeon all have an aesthetic based predominantly on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The Federation in general is a mix of the US with the uniforms and rank insignias of the Imperial Japanese Army. The Zanscare Empire meanwhile seems to be both the Ancien Regime and Revolutionary France IN SPACE.
  • Berserk: Midland is medieval Denmark, Kushan is a combination of India and the middle east, and Chuder/Tudor is most likely based on France.
  • The six countries in Saber Marionette J are based on the countries their founders came from. Japoness is based on feudal-era Japan, Xian is based on Imperial China, Romana is like a mix of Roman and Renaissance Italy, Peterburg is a mix of Czarist and Soviet Russia, Gartland is Nazi Germany, and New Texas is based on modern-day United States.
  • Nihon-koku in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is quite obviously a mixture of a magical and historical version of our Japan. It's actually noted upon in-universe when the gang arrives at Ichihara Yuuko's shop for the first time and she tells Kurogane that her Japan is his Japan too, just a different version of it.
  • For the Evillious Chronicles franchise, all of the setting is inspired by real world countries and their cultures. It takes place on the fictional continent of Bolganio, which is overall Eurasia, with the titular region of Evillious being Europe. In Evillious, the country of Lucifenia is France, Elphegort is Germany, Marlon is Great Britain (with a country that's absorbed into it, Lioness, as Ireland,) Asmodean is the Arabian Peninsula (with Eastern European elements), Beelzenia is Italy/Spain, Levianta is Russia, and at one time there is the Tasan Empire which parallels Ancient Rome with Beelzenia. Some of these countries later form the Union State of Evillious, representing the modern European Union, and on the Eastern side of the continent in a Japan parallel. Off the continent is Maistia, which parallels the Americas.
  • In Knights of Sidonia, Sidonia is basically Japan IN SPACE!!!
  • Magi – Labyrinth of Magic has a lot, but the most prominent ones include the Kou Empire, which is Ancient China, and the Reim Empire, which is the Roman Empire.

    Comics Books 
  • In Beyond The Western Deep, each of the Funny Animal nations have at least identifiable cultural analogues in the real world, if not particularly evident due to the species based trappings: Sungrove is obviously regular medieval Europe (with Tamian mythology have Native American-esque aspects, and the Lutren having polynesian traits), the Felis are by creator admission based on both the Roman Empire and medieval China, the Canids resemble both the Roman Empire and medieval northern Europe, the Ermehn resemble Germanic peoples (and bear a passing aesthetic similarlity to scottsmen), the Vulpin are clearly Arabic and the Polcan look like stereotypical pirates, but overall can be more easily compared to Sea Peoples.
  • The people of Gemworld in Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld are a mix of medieval European cultures.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog comic's planet Mobius has long had stand-in cultures for Asia and Australia... but this was finally justified by the revelation that Mobius is actually Earth of the far, far future.
  • Boneville in Bone is clearly a cartoon version of the United States of America.
  • Angor (a.k.a. Earth 8) from DC comics is very similar to the real world but with a few superficial differences. Doubles as an obvious pastiche of Marvel comics, as its populated with analogues of the Avengers/Ultimates and villains like Dr. Doom.
  • Given Frank Miller's outspoken views on the War on Terror a number of critics suggested that the Spartans and Persian Empire in 300 represent the USA and Middle Eastern terrorists respectively, in a strange example of real (albeit very fictionalised versions of) historical cultures acting as allegories for modern ones.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Tarandroland in Under The Northern Lights is a mix of modern and medieval Scandinavia. The nomadic "Grazer" reindeer are obviously a counterpart to the Sami people, though with much more power and influence. Unlike modern Scandinavia, Tarandroland is pretty much a third world country, however. There are other examples: "camel sultanates" and ki-rin ruled by a "Mikado" are mentioned, and Equestria is treated as similar to USA.
  • In addition to what listed bellow, this Transplanted Character Fic / Intercontinuity Crossover of Ace Combat and Infinite Stratos made it so that North Point is the equivalent of Modern Japan.
  • The griffon tribes in Heart Of Gold Feathers Of Steel are essentially Germanic barbarians.
  • The Crystal Empire in Corruption At Nightfall is basically a Ponified version of the Byzantine Empire.
  • The Demon Empire from Sonic X: Dark Chaos is basically a science fiction Roman Empire as run by The Legions of Hell. On the other side, the Emirate of Mecca is pretty much a far more brutal version of the Rashidun Caliphate with a bit of modern ISIS tacked on.
    • Although it's not shown in-story, Sonya's unnamed homeland is described as a version Warring States-era Japan, except with the warrior culture of the Vikings.
  • The Chalcopyrite Queendom in Magna Clades (and the rest of the Gemstone Saga, for that matter) is meant to be this regarding Ancient Grome (although leaning a bit more towards Roman culture).
  • The version of Equestria in Just Before The Dawn takes a large amount of influence from Ancient Rome.
  • In The Bridge, Ki Seong is a Kirin from Carrea, Equestria's version of Korea. There is also an island nation called Neighpon which resembles Japan.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Star Wars films contain a few:
    • The forest moon of Endor is, to some extent, an equivalent of Darkest Africa in a galaxy far, far away. And the Ewoks are very, very similar to African pygmy tribes.
    • Some fantasy counterpart cultures verge on Space Jews territory:
      • Tuskens resemble Bedouins, but were inspired by the way Native Americans are portrayed in old Westerns.
      • Neimoidians have been accused of representing Asian cultures and Yellow Peril stereotypes.
    • The Empire is basically Space Romans and A Nazi by Any Other Name, complete with The Queen's Latin.
  • Most of the design of the Telmarine on The Film of the Book of Prince Caspian are admitted to be based on Medieval Spain. Bringing some criticism and implications...
    • Which kinda makes sense, seeing as Prince Caspian was apparently an allegory for the Protestant Reformation and subsequent conflicts. One illustrator for the books gave Miraz a shield with the Holy Roman Empire's two-headed eagle.
    • And the Telmarines are descended from old naval era brigands. But remember, the good Narnian humans of the subsequent books are Telmarines, not to mention Caspian himself. Only this one movie would feature Telmarine antagonists, and apparently the common people backed Caspian over Miraz given the parade at the end.
  • In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the clothes, architecture and cultures were clearly inspired by Real Life historical cultures just as in the book. However, the book's descriptions generally indicate a consistent Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages feel except for the Shire, while the movies mixed that with the High and Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance periods.
    • Rohan is reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. An invented scene features a song in the Old English language.
      • The Literary Agent Hypothesis version is that Tolkien "translated" the names of both people and places in Rohan into Old English, so making the place look Old English and throwing in an Old English song isn't much of a stretch.
    • Gondor is reminiscent of the Byzantine Roman Empire as well as Late Medieval Western Europe in general.
    • The Shire is reminiscent of an idealized rural England, and also has a lot of Irish elements, particularly their dance and music. There is a lot of crossover between old English and Irish dance/music. Tolkien used familiar stereotypes of English yokels, but Hollywood comic peasants are always Scotirish, hence the mixture. And hence Merry and Pippin's respective Irish and Scottish accents although they are Frodo's cousins (and although most of the Shire, including Sam, use the generic country accent known to English actors as "Mummerset.")
    • The Dale, in his version of The Hobbit, appears to be modeled on Russia or Hungary.
      • In the book it seems more like the really old Russia (that is, medieval princedoms of Novgorod and Kiev) and Dalemen are explicitly said to be ethnic cousins of Rohirrim, just as both the Russ (viking Russians) and the Goths were Germanic. Esgaroth, for instance, is a freshwater port, just like Novgorad and it's people are known for their commerce along the river.
    • The Dwarves are largely based on Jewish culture, and Elves on Scandinavians.
      • In The Battle of Five Armies, on the other hand, the Ironfoot dwarves have a Roman theme going for them. Their leader wears a helmet with a centurion-style crest and they fight in the turtle formation.
  • The 2007 Canadian Sci-Fi Short Food For The Gods featured a majority Asian cast playing a tribe situated on a distant planet similar to Native Americans as well as being rich in Asian themes, including a backstory referencing prehistoric Japan, and a fictional subtitled language that is loosely derived from Japanese and other Asian language influences.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Xena: Warrior Princess mixed up Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Classical Mythology, The Bible and whatever else the writers could think of and set it all in some vaguely ancient era. Rule of Drama alternated with Rule of Funny depending on what was needed at the time.
  • There is a cross-species example in Babylon 5, in which the intergalactic Blood Sport called "the Mutai" is essentially a karate kumite, complete with gi, bowing, and an ancient master who speaks with a raspy Asian accentnote . Ironically, humans seem to be the only species who have never taken part in the sport until the episode "TKO."
    • Of the main races of Babylon 5, the Earth Alliance are Space Americans, the Centauri Republic Space Byzantines/British Empire, the Narn Regime Space Muslims/Indians, and the Minbari Space Elves.
    • The League of Non-Aligned Worlds, a collection of smaller and less powerful states with collective bargaining power, is the equivalent of the European Union in the early nineties.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003) the colonists from socially and religiously deeply conservative Gemenon and politically impotent, terrorist ridden, superstitious Sagittaron resemble the Deep South and Oireland respectively. If Gaius Baltar is typical of his countrymen, Aerilonians speak a thick Yorkshire accent.
    • Caprica expands on it, introducing us to several Taurons, seemingly a counterpart to Mexicans, complete with their own sprawling, all-encompassing cartels and struggles with racism; their language appears to be based on Ancient Greek. They could also be likened to Italians. However, they have differences as well. Whereas most Hispanic/Mediterranean people are stereotyped as hot-blooded, Taurons are called a stoic people. Joel Watson possibly put it best:
      "So the Taurons in Caprica seem to just be an amalgam of all brownish people?"
      • Ironically true, in that the actors who portrayed Joseph, Sam, Willie and Tamara Adama are all members of different real-world ethnic groups, despite being immediate blood relatives on the show. For example, Esai Morales (Joseph) is Puerto Rican, and Sasha Roiz (Sam) is a Russian Jew.
  • Firefly's planets appear to have numerous cultures that preserve old national traditions from Earth-That-Was. The whole show is colored by Chinese culture, including the dialogue. The Rim world settings where most of the series takes place are mainly, of course, modeled on The Wild West, right down to accents and about half the slang.
    • And the Civil War in the backstory is a deliberate parallel to the American Civil War.
    • Prior to the release of Serenity, it could have been said that the Reavers were stand ins for the old blood thirsty stereotype of Native Americans (as seen in old cowboy movies, this seems a play on that trope rather than having unfortunate implications of its own).
    • Strangely, Russian appears to be a non-existent language, as a fairly common Russian idiom is used as a Trigger Phrase for River Tam in the movie.
  • Kings is set in the kingdom of Gilboa, which is pretty much modern America run by an absolute monarchy fused with Biblical Israel/Judea with the capital, Shiloh, explicitly modeled on New York City. Gath seems to something of a cross of the Philistines with the Soviet Union.
  • Used, especially in the earlier episodes, of Stargate SG-1. This is justified as they mostly encounter humans who were "transplanted" from Earth, and un-justified in that few of them have seemed to culturally or scientifically evolved since then, and almost all of them randomly speak English.
    • Justified in at least some cases because they were deliberately kept stagnant by the Goa'uld.
      • The Goa'uld spoke English too, and it's probably easier to rule an interstellar slave empire if everyone's on the same linguistic page.
    • We would've gotten sick of the "Daniel needs to translate this language" subplot if it occurred in every episode. Especially if they didn't use subtitles.
  • The races in Star Trek frequently have elements of this, though the pairings shift from portrayal to portrayal.
    • In the original series, the overall political placements were based on the 60s Cold War era. Hence, the Federation could be compared to the NATO powers, with humanity as the Americans and the Vulcans as the older allies who are considered smart and less Hot-Blooded - maybe Japan or Britain. The Klingons were the USSR, which Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country ran with heavily - it's about the end of the Klingon Empire because the end of the Soviet Union happened a few years before. The Romulans were also mildly Soviet-esque, although their periods of isolationism and distinction from either the Federation or the Klingons suggest similarities to China or India in the 60s.
    • The Klingons also had Mongolian and Persian elements, then were later given Japanese-ish ideas about honor (rarely put into practice, but given a lot of lip service) and a fair amount of superficial Norse trappings.
    • The Romulans were heavily based on the Romans (even to the name of the race, which plays on Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome).
    • The TOS episode "Plato's Stepchildren" has an entire alien culture modeled on Ancient Greece, which ironically, was said in a different episode of the same series to have been based on Ancient Astronauts. There were, of course, also the Space Nazis and Space Gangsters, and one time trip into a planet's ancient past had awfully Napoleonic trappings.
    • Upon their first appearance, one character notes that the Ferengi behave like "Yankee traders." Their name is derived from a slur for white people used in India. Their obsession with money, however, led to accusations that they were antisemetic stereotypes - this trope must be used with caution.
    • On the other hand, the Vulcans' 'logic' resembles a 60s Western understanding of Chinese or Japanese philosophy, combined with a healthy dose of Jewish elements - Leonard Nimoy was Jewish, which is why the Vulcan salute is based on the Priestly Blessing of Orthodox Judaism.
    • Bajorans are explicitly a stand-in for any oppressed peoples in history, including, ironically, both Jews (the 1940s in Europe and the Israeli Wars of Independence) and Palestinians, along with "Kurds and Haitian boat people... terrorism and homelessness are universal problems".
    • The Jem'Hadar were, according to Avery Brooks, modeled on negative stereotypes of young black men and gang culture- mostly kids and teenagers, addicted to drugs, violent, barely controlled and deeply loyal to each other while contemptuous of everyone else.
    • The Cardassians are Nazis early in Deep Space Nine, though once they ally with the Dominion they become more like a Nazi client state: Italy or Vichy France. They also have some aspects of Commie Land, with a figurehead "legitimate" government, show trials, and occasionally Russian names that don't match the sound of other names in their language.
      • They also share a great deal in common with Roman society: value service to the state above everything else save family; name their highest commanders Legate (albeit they use the bastardized pronunciation;) Dukat and Garak even read a bit like Mark Antony and Ciccero, the latter in each pair having caused the death of the former's father and consistently ridicule them. In Garak's case Dukat just exiled him, though then again some Romans would have considered exile to be worse than death.
      • The description given in "Chain of Command, Part II" of their rich spiritual life being abandoned in favor of a military dictatorship that fed a starving people sounds like a description of Mao's Cultural Revolution.
  • In Game of Thrones, Westeros is quite clearly based on medieval England, and indeed the north/south geography and accompanying accents clearly approximate England's own geography and accent distribution. For example Ned, as a Northerner, has Sean Bean's native Sheffield accent, whereas Cersei, as a Southerner, has more of a London/RP accent. The family names Lannister and Stark are also thinly veiled references to the War of the Roses, a civil war in England fought between the houses of Lancaster and York. The great Wall itself has obvious parallels with Hadrian's Wall, a huge, 80 mile long barrier stretching across the top of England which was began in AD 122 and built to protect Roman Britain from Scottish invasion. Sections of the wall still stand today. The Narrow Sea corresponds to the English Channel, and King's Landing, as seen on the opening-credits map, roughly corresponds with London (despite the Mediterranean vibe).
    • The Dothraki are about a 50-50 mix, half Born in the Saddle Mongolian Golden Horde, half Pre-Islamic Arabs.
    • Braavos corresponds with Spain, especially as our first Braavosi is the Badass Spaniard Syrio Forel, and many Braavosi are Hot-Blooded duellists. The city itself is more similar to Venice, as a City of Canals founded by refugees of a lost empire, acting as the world's biggest lender, and operating as what appears to be a republic.
    • The Wildlings mirror the Scottish/Pictish/Celtic tribes that gave the Roman legions so much trouble.
    • Lorath has been associated with Germany in the fandom, as both Lorathi we have met, Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschicha), have German accents.
    • Qarth has a Mediterranean-Mesopotamian look.
    • House Tyrell-Of The House Of Tudor—their sigil is an almost exact replication of the Tudor Rose. The Reach as a whole is in many ways an analogue of south east England and France/Aquitaine, to the point of being the birthplace of Westerosi chivalric culture in the books.They also served as stewards to the previous royal family like The House Of Stuart.
    • House Lannister-To the House of Lancaster and medieval English nobility in general and, to some extent, the infamous Borgia family of the Italian Renaissance. Game of Thrones has often been compared to the Borgias and their schemes, mainly because of the Lannister charactersnote . Their home, the Westerlands, bears a small resemblance to South Africa as well (lots of gold, lions, a huge mountain behind the main port city.)The HBO show's version of Lannister armor combines features from The Renaissance, Feudal Japan, the Teutonic Knights, and the German men-at-arms of the Russian film Alexander Nevsky, which in turn were a reference to Nazi Germany, as is Tywin's dream about a thousand-year dynasty.
    • House Targaryen-To the Norman invaders of England and the House of Normandy. Them being of Valyrian (i.e. "Roman") descent and having access to wildfire, an analogue of Greek Fire, makes them also a bit Byzantine. Their preference for dynastic incest to maintain the purity of their bloodline is modeled after Ancient Egypt.Being rulers of a land they have little ethnic relation to and even speak a different language, they also draw a lot from the Ptolemaic Egypt.
    • Word of God states that the planet the entire series happens on is an alternate Earth.
  • Once Upon a Time: Mulan's people are based on ancient China while most of the Enchanted Forest is based on medieval Europe, though a majority of the English-speaking inhabitants possess American accents.
    • Even though Belle's kingdom looks as European as the rest of the Enchanted Forest, she, her lord father, and her former betrothed all speak with distinct Australian accents, though the area may be based on the equivalent of France in support of the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
    • Both Aurora and Cora's kingdoms seemed to be associated with Russia and Spain respectively.
    • Dr. Frankenstein's world have aspects of 19th-century London, but Alice's universe plays it straight by being a separate London of its own that is continuously stuck in the Victorian era.
    • Agrabah is obviously a kingdom derived from pre-Islamic Arabic culture.
    • Arendelle appears to be inspired by medieval Scandinavia.
  • In Defiance The Spirit Riders are basically Plains Indians with motorcycles and ATVs instead of horses. The Castithans on the other hand are a Culture Chop Suey.
  • The Grounders in Series/The100 are increasingly looking similar to the First Nations, especially in relation to the would be colonizers from the Ark.
  • Vega in Dominion is very much a copy of Republican Rome albeit with a caste system.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Most Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings.
    • Many unofficial GM invented campaign worlds do this, because after a while GMs realize that it is a lot easier to crib off real life history for their campaign world then it is to invent everything from scratch, because most GMs are not geniuses and also have other things to do in Real Life.
    • The World of Greyhawk references a number of cultures with resonance to Gary Gygax's Swiss family, Wisconsin home, and medieval wargames hobby, including "The Concatenated Cantons of Perrenland" (Switzerland), Thillonrian Peninsula cultures (Norse), various "Paynim" (Muslim) cultures in the west, and the vaguely Papal state of Medegia. There are "Native Americans" (Flanae), lake-faring "Gypsies" (Rhennee), and the map features a couple of large, connected freshwater lakes in the middle (Wisconsin again).
      • In fact, Gygax's original homebrewed Greyhawk campaign took place on a parallel Earth (centered in north-central North America, natch) because (as noted above) he simply didn't have time to create a completely new world and run nightly adventures. When the campaign was readied for publication, a new continental map (aka the Flanaess) was created and the various cultures scattered around it, but some features from the original remain – for example, the Nyr Dyv (one of the lakes mentioned above) is a dead ringer for Lake Superior.
    • The Forgotten Realms setting features a large number of countries that are obviously based on historical ones. Amn is early modern Spain/Portugal, complete with colonies in the equivalent of Central America, and also has some elements from Middle-eastern Crusader states (such as the Kingdom of Jerusalem); Calimshan is vaguely reminiscent of Muslim Spain, with a few Arabic influences; Mulhorand is Pharonic Egypt; Unther is old Babylon; Chessenta is a slightly Greek collection of city-states; the Hordelands are blatantly Mongolian, complete with Take Over the World scare; and Chult is sub-Saharan Africa. Bedine people in Anauroch desert (Arabia without genies and flying carpets), Rashemen, descendants of Rus (old "Ruthenians (Russians) were descendants of Vikings" anecdote plus grubbed-up Wikkan-friendly fragments plus Slavic folklore), Ulutiun (Inuit) tribes of Great Glacier... Sub-settings are the continent of Kara-Tur, a mish-mash of Asian countries to the point that its book reads more like a travelogue/textbook on real-world Asia than a sourcebook, the Aztec-style continent Maztica (removed later), complete with straightforward historical allusions, and the continent of Zakhara (home of the Al-Qadim setting) is based clearly on mythic Arabia.
      • Although one of the background concepts for the Realms, namely that it is liberally sprinkled with portals to pretty much anywhere, might explain some of that, by the fact that it is canon that anywhere includes, yes, the Earth on which the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was published. In the specific cases of Mulhorand and Unther, it is mentioned that their ancestors were ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, taken as slaves by the Imaskari, a civilization very good at the portal-making thing, and after overthrowing their oppressors, they spent the next three thousand years or so ruled by the living incarnations of their deities, which might have caused a bit of social stagnation.
      • Depending on which Realms writer you ask, Calimshan may also be heavy on Ottoman Turkish influence and Persia in general. It's something of a mishmash no matter how you look at it.
      • According to R. A. Salvatore, he based the culture of the drow of Menzoberranzan on the Italian mafia.
    • The feuding between Neverwinter and Luskan seems to be a nod to the Trojan War, as Luskan is also called "Illusk" (Troy was called "Ilion").
    • The human cultures of Birthright are Fantasy Counterpart Cultures; the developers' notes admit as such. Anuire is Renaissance Italy hidden behind a constructed language and some stock Heroic Fantasy tropes, the Khinasi are Turkish Persian Arabs, the Rjurik are Vikings, Brechtur is Renaissance Germany and the Vos are Russian barbarians. Yes, Birthright was written during the Cold War (though released shortly after its end), why do you ask?
    • Used to varying degrees in Ravenloft. Some are fairly clear — Barovia is Romania, Borca is Italy, Dementlieu and Richemulot are France, Falkovnia is Wallachia, Forlorn is Scotland, Har'Akir and Sebua are Pharaonic Egypt, Pharazia is medieval Egypt, Hazlan is Turkey (by way of the Forgotten Realms' Thay), Lamordia is Switzerland, Mordent is rural 19th-century England, Nova Vaasa is Poland, Paridon is Victorian London, Souragne is antebellum Louisiana, Sri Raji is India, Tepest is Ireland, Valachan is the Pacific Northwest, Vorostokov is Russia, and Wild Lands are Africa. Others, like Darkon and Sithicus, operate through more fantasy filters.
      • At least Sithicus is actually a domain snatched from the Dragon Lance setting.
      • Justified in Odaire, a domain taken from an actual parallel (Gothic) Earth's Italy.
    • Pretty much every human culture in the Mystara setting is based on a Real Life country (which makes a certain amount of sense, as it's implied that Mystara is an Alternate Universe to Earth): Thyatis is Rome and/or Byzantium, Karameikos is Rumania, Glantri is a generically Renaissance-era western European nation, the Northern Reaches are Scandinavia, Heldann is the Teutonic Knights, Darokin is a mish-mash Genoese/Venetian merchant republic, the Ethengar Khanate is central Asia, Ylaruam is Arabia (and directly south of the Northern Reaches... WTF?), the Atruaghin Clans are Native Americans, the Savage Baronies are Mexico and Brazil, Cimmaron is Texas (!!), Robrenn is Ireland, Eusdria is Celtic Gaul, Bellayne is England (with cat-people), Renardy is France (with dog-people), the wallara lizardfolk are Australian Aborigines, the phanaton raccoon-people are Mezoamericans... the list goes on and on...
    • Eberron has Galifar being a mix of Alexander the Great's empire and the Holy Roman Empire, Aerenal as ancient Egypt, the Valenar elves as kind-of Bedouin, Karrnath as Germany (with aspects of both Nazi Germany and Prussia), Thrane as any theocracy ever (primarily the Papal States), Breland as Britain (in the modern day of the setting. Breland at the beginning of the Last War was a combination of Britain and Revolutionary France), Aundair as France, Zilargo as Switzerland with KGB gnomes and a Dutch coastline, the Shadow Marches as Vietnam, and Riedra as North Korea on Steroids (although their human-supremacist bias and practice of eugenics also evoke Nazi Germany). Among Riedra's neighbors, Adar has aspects of both Tibet and Persia, and the Akiak dwarves resemble the Inuit.
    • Pathfinder's default setting has quite a few of these, including apparent counterparts of the colonial U.S. and early-20th-century China.
      • To expand on this a bit, the colonial United States analogue is Andoran: a new country that has recently in the past century won its independence from Cheliax and is experimenting with democracy. Golarion also has an ancient Egyptian analogue in Osirion, an Middle Eastern counterpart named Qadira, and a Roman/Byzantine-type country in Taldor. The Land of the Linnorm Kings is clearly based on saga-era Viking myth. Irrisen and Brevoy both play like medieval Russia, with Brevoy going for civil war between noble houses and Irrisen doing the fantasy side. Galt is Reign of Terror France. Ustalav is Eastern Europe through the eyes of Hammer Horror films. Touvette is a mixed dig at Western fascism and North Korea. Cheliax wants to be Renaissance Italy by way of fantasy devil worship. Vudrani are meant to portray pre-Colonial India. Bacchuan is another dig at North Korea. Minkai is faux-medieval Japan, and Kyonin is faux-medieval elven Japan. All of the Lung Wa successor states are essentially pieces of the multicultural traditions of China. Hongal are Mongolian analogs. Tianjiang looks a lot like the public perception of pre-Communist Tibet, so Tibet via Hollywood History. Katapesh is another "pulp-Arabia" country, with Jalamey filling in for "pulp-Near East." Molthune goes for Imperial Germany. The Crown of the World features faux Inuit peoples. The Mwangi Expanse goes for a bit of a Reconstruction of the Darkest Africa trope, eliminating many of its odious connotations while portraying the Mwangi as knowledgeable, intelligent Colonial-era African analogs. Quite a few countries make up what could be called a generic mish-mash of South East Asian-themed societies. And certainly more parallels could be found.
    • Planescape, the setting which focused on the old D&D cosmology, plays with this trope like a kitten with yarn. It contains an idealized "Viking" heaven, a Word of Dante version of Purgatory and Hell, Mount Olympus, the Underworld, and dozens of little pockets which resemble the real world culture which worshiped the god found in said pocket. For example, Set's realm is based on faux Ancient Egypt, but is nestled inside what can only be called Dante's Inferno. It makes sense in context.
  • The Warhammer setting, like many other examples on this page, is full of this, and they don't even try to hide it.
    • Justified in the background, though, as it is explained how the Warhammer World was created by the Old Ones as a kind of experiment, following a standard pattern of terraforming and world creation – so, according to this, the reason why the Warhammer World and Terra (that is, the real Earth) are so similar is because it is suggested that Earth itself was terraformed by the Old Ones according to the same “standard” pattern.
    • Still according to the background, the Warhammer World was not only terraformed from birth and left at it, but the Old Ones left their Slann servants “cultivate” it and the various races that live on it so as to make sure that the Warhammer World history develops by following a pre-established plan – this is, according to background, the reason why so many Warhammer World races have a direct counterpart on Earth and follow the same global line of development, to the extent that some events even happen on the same dates involving people with similar names (for example, the discovery of the New World by Tilean merchant Marco Colombo in the year 1492 IC).
    • So the Old World (which contains the Empire, Bretonnia, Kislev, Tilea, Albion and Estalia plus the Dwarfen kingdoms) is basically late-Medieval/Renaissance Europe if Christianity had never existed, with the common pantheon being a mix of various European paganisms, largely Greek/Roman and Germanic inspired.
    • The Empire is more or less the Holy Roman Empire during the Renaissance, with its reliance on pike-and-shot armies, Elector Counts voting in the new Emperor, and the extreme power of its national church (in this case, the Cult of Sigmar). It is also worth noting that the first ruler of the Empire was crowned explicitly by the spiritual leader of the tribes, similar to how Charlemagne, the founder of the Holy Roman Empire, was crowned by the Pope. In our case, however, the "Pope" is the "Ar-Ulric", the shamanic, barbarian high priest of Ulric, the war god of winter and wolves. Hence religion wars between the “Ulricans” and the “Sigmarites”, much like in Renaissance Germany. Unlike the actual Holy Roman Empire however, worship of the Old World pantheon as a whole is in general tolerated.
      • Sigmar himself is a kind of a combination of Charlemagne (for uniting the tribes and founding the Empire; his massacre of the Chaos-worshiping Norse tribes could even be likened to the Bloody Verdict of Verden, where Charlemagne massacred pagan Saxons), a bit of Octavian (for being a founding emperor who ended up becoming deified), and (religiously speaking) Jesus Christ and Thor.
    • Bretonnia is basically medieval France, or the way it was imagined by the Enlightenment historians, complete with French naming conventions, 14th century armor and weaponry for the knights and men-at-arms, upper-class disdain for ranged combat, an oppressed peasant underclass, and reputation for extremely good cuisine and wine. The ancestors of the Bretonnians resemble Celtic tribesmen, evoking the Roman-era Gauls. There's also a decent deal of Arthurian mythology tossed in there, with Grail Knights and a Lady of the Lake who's the chief deity, and a special interaction between Bretonnia and the Elves of Athel-Loren.
      • Early edition Bretonnia was anything but knightly, themed around pre-revolutionary French monarchy. It was known for good quality pistols, decadent aristocracy, and all-around rot.
    • Kislev is medieval Tsarist Russia which swiftly turns into grim, wide-open, and cold Siberian/Central Asian like steppes to the north. True to history, Kislev is actually comprised of several ethnic groups and their cultures. There are Turko-Mongol Ungols in the North, the more traditionally Russian Gospodars in the south who are more numerous and in charge of the country, and way back, Viking-esque invaders known as the Roppsmenn (who were driven East by Sigmar for aiding the Chaos-worshiping Norse clans), who ended up being crushed by the Ungols (reflecting the Mongol conquest of Russia). The Gospodars' own troubled rule over the Ungols, including several crackdowns on the Ungols' cultural center of Praag (yes, the name of the Mongol-Turkic city is Praag; deal with it), thematically mirrors the general relationship between the Tsars of Russia and the Turkic/Mongol tribes (especially the Tatars). Ironically, there were hints in the past that the Gospodars and the Ungols are actually an offshoot of the even more Turkic-Mongolian Kyazaks (Kazakhs, natch) and Kurgans, who live further north and east (the World's Edge Mountains acting as a kind of Ural in that regard). Interestingly, Kislev is also the name of a month in the Jewish calendar (Hannukah is in Kislev).
    • Estalia is pre-unification Spain + Portugal and Tilea is Renaissance Italy (complete with rival city-states and leaning towers). Interestingly, both these countries get their classic architecture from the fact that their cities are built on ancient ruins, not of the Roman Empire, but of High Elves colonies who were abandoned following a centuries long war between Elves and Dwarves. There is also a “Classical” language used as an international scientific and religious language for the Old World's educated elite, which is just Latin in the Warhammer World (which could be or “Old Tilean”, or a corrupted form of the High Elf speech used by humans in their early dealings with the race ?).
    • The independent city-state of Marienburg, surrounded by its marshy Wasterlands, is the Netherlands; the Border Princes are the Balkans ; Albion is pre-Roman Britain, complete with ornery Celtic tribes, angry Druids and magical Stonehenge type things; the pirate island of Sartosa is Sicily.
    • Cathay, Ind, Nippon, and Araby are just the medieval European terms for the exact same places you're thinking about, but turned fantastic (Cathay is ruled by a real *Dragon* Emperor, there are monkey-men, tiger-men, elephant-men in Ind, djinns and flying carpets in Araby).
    • The High Elves, the former rulers of the Old World, live in Atlantis and have a very Greco-Roman style. Their cousins the Dark Elves are more hard to define, but could be understood as post-Viking Scandinavians, with their reliance on crossbowmen and close-combat troops (even though they live in Warhammer's equivalent of Canada). Their other cousins the Wood Elves are basically a representation of Celtic folklore regarding The Fair Folk.
    • Dwarves have a few Scandinavian elements, the Halflings are rustic Englishmen. Moreover, both these races are very widely spread in the human realms, especially in the Empire, where they play a social role similar to the one Jews played in medieval Europe: they mostly live in special ghettos, have separate sets of laws for themselves, and, in the case of Dwarves, are famous for owning a lot of gold and following their own alien religion that they practice away from the public. Also the Dwarves are connected to the cult of Sigmar, a bit like Judaism is connected to Christianism(though not for the same reasons).
    • Tomb Kings are Pharaonic Egyptians (only undead), and the Lizardmen are Mayincatecs. The Ogres are Silk Road raiders living in the Himalaya, the Orcs are basically a Barbarian Tribe of English football hooligans, and the Forest Goblins, with a type of unit called a 'brave' and their heavy use of feathers in decoration, have traits of native Americans. Chaos Dwarfs resemble the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Hobgoblins are Mongols, and the Vampire Counts of Sylvania (officially part of the Empire) live in Romania/Transylvania.
    • The Warriors of Chaos are your general barbarians, similar to Viking Age Scandinavia allied with the Huns, Scythians, Goths, Turks and other invaders. Long-bearded, muscular, psychotically violent Viking warriors clad in spiky armour, furs and imposing plate-armour from HELL who Rape, Pillage, and Burn everyone else via longship or on horse and who fight to gain the notice of their capricious gods, led by Jarls and other such leaders who tend to be celebrated Chaos Chosen, and operate in tribal confederations with names like “Skaelings”, “Bjornlings”, but also “Kurgans”, “Yusaks”, or “Man-Chus”, “Hungs”). So, basically, Heavy Metal Satanist Vikings-Mongols with Spikes of Villainy. They're also extremely fond of horned-helmets and plaits, furthering the strong Evil Fantasy Viking aesthetic. Geographically, Norsca is situated where real-life Scandinavia would be, although it has little in common with Scandinavia, being full of mountains and frozen steppes. In other words, think of the Nords on some of the strongest steroids and acid conceived by the gods themselves, or the Aesir on blood and lunar dust. Now dial them both up to 9001 to get the Warriors of Chaos.
    • There are also vampire-worshiping gypsies (the Strigani) who offer vampires stolen children as human sacrifices.
    • And Amazons.
    • About the only one that don't qualify are the Skaven, with their crazy war machines and warpstone technology - although one might argue that their extreme xenophobia and crazy experiments makes them Those Wacky Nazis with a fair dose of Stupid Jetpack Hitler. Also, you can't have a real dark fantasy universe without a good dose of Black Death and other plagues. And who wouldn't dream of super-clever albeit demented laboratory rats on the run constantly endeavouring to conquer the world?
  • Many of the factions in the science-fantasy counterpart Warhammer 40,000 are slighty less direct but still obvious take-offs of historical cultures and armies:
    • Among the Space Marines, the Space Wolves and White Scars are based on Viking and Mongol stereotypes, respectively, and the Ultramarines smack of blue-armoured Roman Legionaries. The Black Templars are heavily based on Crusaders and Knights Templar (some relation). The Emperor himself is some mix of King Arthur and Jesus, but given that background fluff on the Emperor states he had assumed the guise of many historical figures, he may very well have been both of them.
    • Then there's the Imperial Guard. Germany and Russia get two apiece: The Valhallans, despite the Nordic name, are Reds with Rockets ready to defend Emperorgrad from waves of Orks, whereas the Vostroyans are Space Cossacks. Both the Armageddon Steel Legion and the Death Korps of Krieg are Weltkrieg Germans, but we're not sure which are which: the Steel Legion conduct Blitzkrieg, but are pretty light-hearted by 40K standards, whereas the Death Korps slog through mud and wire but have more Fascistic levels of Grim Dark. Then you have the Catachans, who seem to be both sides of the Vietnam war; the Tallarn Desert Raiders, who appear to be the Arab Revolt with General Monty's equipment; the red-coated, pith-helmeted, and dark-skinned Pretorians (who, again, seem to represent both sides of the Anglo-Zulu Wars); and the vaguely Prussian Mordians. The Tanith First and Only are subtly Celtic, and while the Cadians are deliberately generic modern military-types; their name is supposedly a nod to Canada's tremendous and oft-overlooked contribution in the World Wars. New to the Imperial Guard lore are the Arkhan Confederates, who are more or less the Confederate States of America, complete with grey uniforms and racist undertones.
      • The Cadians also give off a vaguely Soviet style - if the Valhallans are the Red Army of WWII, the Cadians are the Soviet Army of the late '70s-'80s. Especially given their names ("Shock Troops"), the fact that 10% of them form the sinister sounding "Interior Guard" provost squads, and the city names (Kasr [insert name here] is similar to [insert name here]grad). The way in which the entire planet is sitting there, armed and ready for war, constantly churning out battle machines is also analogous to the Cold War and the way the armies in Germany stared at each other for decades. The routes into/out of Eye of Terror is somewhat similar to the planned-for Soviet/NATO invasion routes into the other's country: the Cadian Gate is the North German Plain, the Arx Gap is the Fulda Gap and the usually impassable Rubicon Straits are the Danube River Valley.
    • The Blood Ravens are somewhat based on Greece throughout its history. Though they're also often compared to the Romapeople, with their nomadic, fleet-based structure, use of psychic divination and rampant kleptomania.
    • The Mantis Warrior chapter are a somewhat subtle take on Japan. They don't have much obviously Asian styling apart from being a successor of the Mongol-influenced White Scars, but they do have a ninja-like talent for camouflage and misdirection as well as warrior monks who are in a permanent meditative trace state. Also, their chapter was decimated after they backed the losing side in a major war and its homelands were occupied, a shame which they still struggle with and shapes their culture into the present. The biggest giveaway, however, is their insect motif and love of motorized cavalry.
      • Planet Armageddon, homeworld of the aforementioned legion, with its whole population constantly at war, and its extreme pollution, is a twisted mirror of modern Germany. Germany's population is quite pacifist, and extremely environmentalist, so, Armageddon is basically all of their nightmares made manifest.
    • The Inquisition is, quite obviously, based on the Spanish Inquisition, with a bit of Ghostapo, and all of the worst fascists in history, really.
    • The Orks started life as a caricature of British football hooligans (as in the Warhammer fantasy setting), and come complete with slang and thick Cockney accents. They mostly stay pretty close to their roots, too.
    • The Tau Empire are in some ways an East Asian jumble. Their military equipment is strikingly Animesque, and they have nebulously Oriental accents and a Taoist-Confucianist philosophy. They refer to humans as Gue'la, they have single black cables running out of their suits, and they are all about the Collective Greater Good. They're also a small, isolated yet imperialistic people who spread out quickly, encountered many other cultures and assimilated them into their own, and through diplomacy and trade (and the occasional violent conflict) left a large cultural impression in spite of their own modest numbers, which all sounds quite familiar...
    • The Eldar were Asianesque first, an Japanese in particular. They even have katanas, shuriken, and back-banners (especially on the Wraithlords). Eldar names and non-visual aspects of their culture are also somewhat influenced by Celtic Mythology, it would seem.
    • Also somewhat apparent in the Chaos Space Marines, too. Most notably would be the Thousand Sons, whose armor and accessories are based ancient Egyptian style, with Pharaoh-like crowns on their helms. The architecture of Prospero further proves this fact with pyramid-shaped architecture. The Night Lords might also be Slavic-inspired, too, with their whole "terrors in the night" schtick and their Primarch Konrad Curze being a fusion of Batman and Vlad the Impaler. As in regular Warhammer, many of the other Chaos factions resemble vikings.
    • The Necrons have some ancient Egyptian about them, and sometimes Mayan and Mesopotamian too— basically they have influences every pyramid-building culture.
    • The Dark Eldar's practice of raiding and capturing slaves whose souls they consume to stave off a Chaos God who will eat them if they don't is reminiscent of Mesoamerican cultures, who believed the world would end if they didn't perform human sacrifice. They also have Roman-style Colosseum battles, and their troop transports look like ancient triremes. Apart from that, they're more inspired by old-style faeries and elves and bloodsucking creatures of the night rather than any human culture. According to the designers, the Dark Eldar borrow from the bloody excesses of many classical high cultures, not just the Romans, to emphasise that they are highly sophisticated and civilized degenerates, not just savage barbarians - their tyrannical big cheese is called Asdrubael (after the Carthaginian Hasdrubal) for example, and a lot of their names and terminology derive from classical sources (incubi, succubi, Talos, Cronos, Hekatrix, Haemonculus, Animus Vitae, Medusae, Lhamaeans, etc.
  • This is part of the basic premise of AEG's 7th Sea; every nation is an exaggerated version of a nation in 17th-century Europe. Avalon is England (with the Highland Marches as Scotland and Inismore as Ireland), Castille is Spain (with its own Spanish Inquisition), Montaigne is France, Eisen (name means "iron") is Germany, Vodacce is Italy, Vendel (which means "banner") is Holland, Ussura is Russia, and the Vestenmanavnjar are the Vikings. There's also the Crescent Empire, which is based off the Ottoman Empire. Cathay, like in Warhammer, is an archaic name for Imperial China and the setting is an analogue thereof. Last, the Midnight Archipelago is a savage version of Polynesia.
    • Castille is an example of Istanbul Not Constantinople. It was one of the kingdoms that were united to form Spain (Aragon, Leon, and Navarra being the others).
  • Likewise, AEG's Legend of the Five Rings setting puts a number of rival Japanese samurai clans on a China-like map under the control of a strong Imperial house - but not strong enough that the clans aren't constantly fighting each other. One of the clans, the Unicorn, has strong Mongolian influences.
  • Given joking justification in the world of Yrth, the "house setting" for fantasy gaming in GURPS - many cultures there resemble those of ancient and medieval Earth, but that's because they were founded by refugees from Earth, accidentally transported to Yrth by a truly humongous critical failure on a powerful spell.
    • The nation of Sahud arose from Japanese, Chinese, and Korean peasants recreating their culture from memory ... resulting in a typical RPGs Asian mishmash with shades of Monty Python.
  • Loosely speaking, the four major nations in Reign are Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. Dindavara is feudal China, Uldholm is the Nordic nations, the Truils are the Germanic tribes, and the Empire is roughly Elizabethan England crossed with Imperial Rome in its decline. However, it does some very interesting things from this base framework... to the point that Uldholm in particular is only a Fantasy Counterpart Culture in the loosest sense of the term.
  • The Riddle Of Steel has lots of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures in its game world, including Sarmatov (Poland), Otamarluk (Turkey) and Tengoku (guess), alongside fantasy staples such as RenFaire Kingdom and Barbarian Hero Land. Consequently it's often used for Earth-based historical games, with or without the more blatant fantasy tropes.
  • The wargame Hordes of the Things (released by Wargames Research Group, better known for its historical games) points out that the inhabitants of fantasy worlds think of orcs and goblins much as medieval Europeans thought of Mongols, and for essentially the same reason. It's no coincidence that HoTT's goblin army handles similarly to DBA's Mongol army in play. Other games that play on this connection include the aforementioned Birthright, which features a goblin khanate.
  • Name a real life culture. It's somewhere in Exalted. In particular, The Realm appears to be what would happen if ancient Rome, modern-day America, and China had a baby. Lookshy resembles a Magitek Sparta, and the Linowan have many similarities to Native Americans, while the Northwestern tribes have a very Nordic feel to them. Then there's the ancient Aztec dinosaur people...
    • The Realm's satrapy system is almost exactly the same as the one used by the Persian Empire, down to the name used. Yes, THAT Persian Empire. That's why Lookshy kicked their ass.
    • Autochthonia, as a world, is Industrial Revolution Europe, with its endless mazes of factories, almost universal reliance on gruel for nutrition, and decidedly crapsack feel. In recent updates, the crapsack has been dialed down a bit, and the individual Autochthonian nations have been given more emphasis in recent times.
    • The general Exalted culture design philosophy was to make cultures have babies. Features of one, aesthetics of another, or something more complicated. So yes, the Realm is Rome (legions), China (jade, rice) and Persia (satrapies.) Autochthon is, well, modelled more on Metropolis, but it's mostly an illiterate crapsack industrial world with Mesoamerican iconography and strong states that take care of the citizens.
  • Battletech's nations all have a bit more depth to them, but they all can be looked at this way on the surface. Of the various superpowers, the Draconis Combine is mostly Japan, the Federated Suns is mostly Britain, the Capellan Confederation is mostly Chinese, the Lyran Commonwealth is mostly German, and the Free Worlds League, with its multiculturalism, federalism, and republicanism in a Feudal Future, is vaguely American. The Inner Sphere as a whole is medieval Europe, with ComStar as the Catholic Church, and the Clans are the Mongol Horde.
  • The location and culture of Dogs In The Vineyard are similar to the Mormon-settled Deseret Territory of early Utah.
  • Iron Kingdoms most of its factions are Steam Punk counterparts. Cygnar are Americans mixed the British Empire. Khador is imperial Russia with the color scheme of the Soviet Union. The Protectorate of Menoth are based of the early crusades, with the Knight Templar theme exaggerated.
  • Mutant Chronicles: The Megacorps are derived from different cultures, despite being corporations instead of nations. Capitol is the USA in the Vietnam War. Bauhaus is composed of various European elements, such as France, Germany, Russia, Austria, and Italy. Imperial are based off the British Empire along with Scottish highlanders. Mishima is medieval Japan with Samurai who strictly follow the Bushido code. The Brotherhood are the combination of The Knights Templar, The Teutonic Knights and the Knights Hospitaller.
  • Flintloque was just a fantasy version of the Revolutionary Wars with British Orcs, French Elves, Prussian Dwarfs and Russian Undead.
  • Played with in ''Traveller. The Terran Confederation is rather like a space USA. The Vilani have a vaguely Confucian feel to them. The Third Imperium very much resembles The British Empire. The Sword Worlds interestingly enough are a deliberate attempt to justify a Viking example; not only are they largely Scandinavian decent but they were influenced by a nativist ideological movement called The Viking Revival. However it is a bit of a subversion, simply because Swordies seem a more instinctively rooted people rather then a wandering people. While they occasionally go on epic space voyages they don't do it very often and prefer their plot of ground. As for the Aslan, they are kind of like generic tribesfolk, though they have their own characteristics unique to them.
  • Fading Suns: The Empire in general is vaguely reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire, in being a loose confederation of noble houses with a close relationship to the church that emerged from a dark age. Though it's not emperors who are elected so much as regents, who nevertheless ruled in the nearly five centuries between Emperor Vladimir Alecto's assassination and Alexius Hawkwood's coronation.
  • A number of settings in Magic: The Gathering: Kamigawa is based on feudal Japan, Theros is Ancient Greece with a few tweaks and a bunch of lion-men, Ravnica is urban fantasy with a Slavic flavor, Lorwyn/Shadowmoor has roots in folklore and faerie tales from the British Isles, Innistrad is practically a love letter to the often Germanic-flavored Gothic horror, the Alaran shard Bant owes a lot to a heavily idealised knightly Europe while Naya sports Mayincatec styling on the few cards it has not focused on big stompy things, and the five clans of Tarkir are visually based on Persia (Azban), Shaolin monks (Jeskai), Indonesia and Thailand (Sultai), the Mongols (Mardu) and early Siberian tribes (Temur).
  • In Ironclaw the major houses of Calebria (one letter removed from a region in Italy) are based on different Western European cultures. The reigning House Rinaldi is based primarily on Renaissance Italy, with some aspects of the Roman Empire in decline. The Avoirdupois seem to be French while House Doloreaux is probably based on some Germanic culture. And house Bisclavret is rather blatantly Scottish down to their kilts, while their "savage" cousins in the Phelan tribes are Irish pagans. While in the Book of Jade supplement Zhōngguó goes so far as to share the name of its real life counterpart.
  • Played straight in Anima: Beyond Fantasy, exaggerating each nation and to the point it would be much faster to list those that aren't represented in Gaïanote , the game's setting. Among many others, we've Solomón (an Ancient Grome with Crystal Spires and Togas and Magitek), Abel (a worldwide, at least until not much ago, and Christian version of the Roman Empire named after the local Crystal Dragon Jesus), Lannet (feudal Japan), Shivat (China during the same epoch), Albidion (Papal States), Argos (XV century Spain during the epoch of the Catholic Monarchs complete with heavy religious fanatism and a strong bound to the former), Kushistán (Middle-East), Alberia (forest-shrouded Ireland), Togarini (a Renaissance version of Nazi Germany complete with a equivalent of the SS and the Gestapo mixed together according to Word of God -funnily enough with drow-like humans having dark skin and white/silver hair, its leader being one of them-), Remo and Bellafonte (medieval/Renaissance Italy, the second with a nobility who has heavy bonds to the Church and includes religious knights), Gabriel (a mix of XVIII century France and Venice with lots of pimped-out dresses and luxury in general as well as court intrigues, but rampant poverty in the lower strata of the society), Dalaborn (a military version of Ruritania), Izti (Mayincatec), Daphne (a sort of isle of amazons albeit not so extreme as the equivalent of other settings), and Espheria (an Expy of XIX century United States of America with democracy and much more freedom than in other countries.)

    Video Games 
  • Tamriel, the continent upon which The Elder Scrolls games take place, has many elements of this, mixed with some Culture Chop Suey. Cyrodiil is the Roman Empire (with vague Japanese trappings), and the other human races resemble Rome's client states - the Nords being Norsemen, the Bretons being Celts (Oblivion made them specifically Celts from Bretagne), and the Redguards being Africans, with vaguely Moorish architecture, sometimes curiously English-sounding names, and bearing more than few resemblances to feudal Japan (their greatest folk hero is essentially Miyamoto Musashi). The High Elves formed the basis for Imperial culture, and thus might be likened to ancient Greece (albeit naming their deities as though they were archangels in Judeo-Christian mythology), while their history in more "modern" times (from their conquest by Tiber Septim to the time of Skyrim) has an uncanny amount of parallels to that of Japan (specifically, from the opening of Japan by Commodore Perry to the time of antebellum Imperial Japan). The extinct Dwemer have a Steam Punk Mesopotamian/Phoenician motif. Mainstream Dark Elf society resembles medieval Catholic Europe, while the Ashlanders have more Mongolian trappings and Babylonian naming conventions. Orcs also have a Mongol-type culture, though their naming convention uses Norse-ish patronymics, their actual social structure is reminiscent of early Slavs: small non-nomadic strongholds that are run by a single large family with the patriarch at the head (though the killing of fathers and only the chief mating is probably based of pure fantasy). The unseen continent of Akavir is populated by dragons, monkey-folk and giant snakes (that ate all the humans) with East Asian cultural trappings. When Akaviri armour shows up in Skyrim, it's pretty clearly Samurai armour, and one character points out the "distinctive longswords" (katanas) of Akaviri warriors.
    • Incidentially, descriptions of Cyrodiil in earlier games suggested more Mayincatec trappings. This was all but dropped in favour of Roman ones by Morrowind, however.
      • It wasn't that they were dropped in Morrowind, it's just that most of the Imperials within the legion are Colovian, which is distinctly Roman with a smattering of Noridic, and lacks the East Asian and Mayincatec trappings of Nibenay.
    • To specify on Akavir: The Snakemen of Tscaesi are Japanese (use of the katana, and their invasions of Tamriel are what gave it the various spices of Akaviri culture on the nation), the Monkeymen of Tang Mo are Chinese (highly advanced culture, said to rival the Dwemer), the Snow Demons of Kamal are Mongolian (they thaw out from a frozen slumber every summer and attempt to invade Tang Mo, but are beaten back every time, much like the Mongol-Chinese wars of the various dynasties. Kamal even invaded Tamriel once, attacking the European-esque Morrowind reminiscent of Attila the Hun's invasion of Europe during the later days of the Roman Empire), and the Dragons of Ka Po'Tun resemble the medieval Islamic Caliphate of the Crusades (fanatic devotion to their chosen god, highly aggressive toward its sworn enemy, in this case the Tscaesi, while also highly refined).
    • Skyrim itself is a clash of five primary cultures: the neo-Roman style of the Cyrodiilic Empire clashes actively with the Norse culture of the native Nord peoples, particularly in regards to religious beliefs and traditions. There's also the Celtic-style Forsworn, who are Bretons who adopt a primitive, druidic culture in the Reach similar to ancient Celtic pagan culture (with blood sacrifice, consorting with daedra, and revering monstrous Hagravens added to the mix), with some Native American trappings, such as wearing feathered headdresses and animal hide loincloths and using names like "Red Eagle". Then you get a good look at the old crypts, barrows, and cairns that remain from the thousands-years-old Dragon Empire that dot the landscape of Skyrim, which combines elements of ancient Norse culture coupled with Ancient Egyptian trappings (i.e. mummies, elaborate corpse preservation techniques, complex burial sites complete with equally complex traps, etc.) And the Aldmeri Dominion - a dictatorship centred around elven supremacy which persecutes races and religions it finds undesirable - is a stand-in for Nazi Germany, complete with its laws enforced by a paramilitary organisation in black longcoats.
  • Diablo does this pretty unabashedly. For example, the Monk's design is a strange mishmash of Russia and China, with some trace elements of India for flavor.
  • The Ace Combat series loves these. At the most blatantly obvious, the Osean Federation is the United States, Emmeria is too (adding a C makes it very obvious), Yuktobania, Erusea and Estovakia are all Russia/the Soviet Union, Belka is Germany (with AC0 Belka, and later the Grey Men, as Nazi Germany) and Sapin is Spain. Aurelia and Leasath appear to represent the entirety of South America.
    • The ISAF is ambiguously either NATO or the European Union, although Erusia is muddier.
    • Strangereal's lack of nuclear proliferation gives us a subversion; characters in The Belkan War and especially The Unsung War display attitudes about and intentions with nuclear weapons that seem downright bizarre to the player, who has lived in a world with thousands of the things their whole life.
  • The building and unit designs for all four nations in the series Advance Wars are based on World War II-era combatants: Orange Star is America, Blue Moon is Soviet Russia, Green Earth is England/Germany, and Yellow Comet is Japan. Interestingly, none of the four nations are villainous. The bad guys, Black Hole, have no earth parallels and are designed to appear off-world or alien. Similarly, you have the Western Frontier (American), Tundran Territories (Russian), Xylvania (Germany/Romania), Solar Empire (Japan), and Anglo Isles (England) in Battalion Wars.
  • Arc The Lad, which had among others Romalia (Germany), Millmana (somewhat like Columbia), Seirya (Japan) and Aldia (United States). Aldia in particular had its main city, Prodias, as a direct parody of New York right down to a Statue of Liberty equivalent and the World Trade Center towers. This same city is subject to an aerial terrorist attack by a crew that includes an Arabic looking man with a robe and a long beard. This game was made before 9/11.
  • The Jade Empire is a dead ringer for Ancient China, complete with dense jungles to the south (Indochina), impassable mountains to the west (the Himalayas), northern steppes populated by "the Horselords" (Mongols), and an eastern ocean, from which come foreigners resembling 16th century European explorers. It's a little Steam Punk and All Myths Are True, so it's not quite as Flanderized as most examples of this trope.
  • Dragon Age, also from Bioware, borders on being a roman a clef of European history. We have:
    • The nation of Ferelden. It is a feudal nation ruled by a semi-hereditary king who owes his power to the support of barons, and its majority human population is descended from large groups of warring tribes, some of whom still remain during the game's beginning - Celtic to Saxon England, basically. It is also the place where Andraste had her ministry.
    • Orlais is essentially France during the Ancien Regime, with a failed version of the Norman Conquest (Orlesian-occupied Ferelden) in its recent history, and Antiva is styled after late medieval Italian city-states like Venice with a dash of Spain thrown in. Dragon Age 2's setting of Kirkwall is mostly based on medieval Cologne, a free city-state known for its frequent Jurisdiction Friction between the municipal government and the church. Such friction is basically the plot to the game, albeit with the inclusion of corrupting magic and a brewing tension between mages and churchmen.
    • The Chantry itself is heavily based on the medieval Catholic Church, with the main difference being the fact that its priests are always women. The Chantry, like the medieval Church, is tasked with keeping a weather eye out for heresy - although in Dragon Age, heresy means the possibility that you'll be possessed by a demon or become a zombie-esque servant to a dark ex-god who is now a dragon. There's even a divide within the Andrastean religion between the Imperial Chantry and the regular Chantry, which resembles the split between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Furthermore, the fact that the regular Chantry is based in Orlais' capital Val Royeaux resembles the Avignon Papacy.
      • Andraste's life story resembles a mix of Boudica (female barbarian war leader who resisted the resident Rome analogue) and Joan of Arc (her supposed divine appointment and subsequent betrayal), is named for an Iceni goddess that Boudica herself would have worshiped, has a cultural role similiar to that of Jesus in Catholicism, and theologically, as a human prophet rather than a fully-divine being, has a fair bit in common with Mohammed.
    • Likewise, as mentioned below, the Tevinter Imperium has its own Chantry system with a "Black Divine," who is always male, as leader, as opposed to the general Chantry's Divine, who is always female. So, elements of the Avignon Papacy as well as the schism that led to the Greek Orthodox Church.
  • The MMORPG Granado Espada is entirely based around fantasy counterparts of Old World cultures and their role in the New World. Espanola is Spain, Bristia is Britain, Abyssinia is Abyassinia.
  • Freelancer contains four different "Houses": Liberty (United States), Bretonia (Britain), Kusari (Japan) and Rheinland (Germany). And on top of that, their places are named after actual places (such as "Planet Los Angeles"). However, this styling is intentional as the four houses are themed as the descendents of colonists from the four countries.
    • There was also a fifth ship, the Hispania, that was broke down. They became pirates working for various factions. Most notable among these are the Outcasts, whose home planet is called Malta, and the Corsairs, whose home planet is called Crete. Make of that what you will.
    • The four Houses also seem to have revived the old cultures from which they came, some more than others. Rheinland and Kusari are the biggest examples, with landed nobility still present and having influence and uniforms looking a bit antiquated. Their governments appear to be "revivals" of post-unification Prussia and Edo period Japan, respectively.
  • Rise of Legends features Fantasy Counterpart Cultures to Renaissance Italy, the Arabian Nights Middle East, and Mayan/Aztec Mesoamerica, complete with "appropriate" techs (Steampunk/Clockpunk, swords & sorcery, and sub-Sufficiently Advanced Alien tech, respectively) for its three factions. Two of the three also have very obvious Meaningful Names, with the Renaissance Italians being Vinci, and the Mesoamerican nation being Cuotl (a reference to Quetzalcoatl, who some UFOlogists and cryptohistorians claim was actually an alien).
    • Concept art from the making of the game, as well as unused icons fromathe map editor, point to the existence of a fourth race that was dropped in the last moment: the Kahan, based on Mongolian mythology. Before the Kahan, so it seems, the fourth race was the Skald, based on Finnish mythology and folklore. Too bad they never made it into the actual game.
  • Almost all eastern video game RPGs contain at least one such country, usually modelled after Japan. See Wutai.
    • Other than the aforementioned Wutai, however, most Final Fantasy games are surprisingly good at inventing unrecognisably fantastic cultures aside from a few vague parallels. They are mostly Medieval European Fantasy of some kind, but with a lot of variation, Impossibly Cool Clothes and Schizo Tech. A notable exception to this is Final Fantasy X, which based its setting on Okinawan culture.
    • Final Fantasy VI had Doma (Japan). This is more evident in the Japanese version where Cyan is a samurai, not a knight.
    • Final Fantasy VII has the Cetra, an ancient race of persecuted wanderers who are supposed to be the only ones with access to 'The Promised Land'. The main Cetra in the game (born to a non-Cetra father and a Cetra mother, but treated as completely Cetra) was living undercover in a household run by a non-Cetra, lying about her heritage in order to stop The Empire's agents finding her and taking her to have sadistic experiments done on her. Her mother was tortured to death by The Empire during the war (involving a culture known for ninja and samurai). Does This Remind You Of Anything?
      • Cosmo Canyon is a pueblo. Corel is vaguely Appalachian. Gold Saucer is based on Las Vegas. Midgar is probably based on Los Angeles or another symbol of American industrialization/urbanization taken to excess.
      • It's less obvious thanks to the limited architecture the game uses. All the castles have to look the same.
    • Final Fantasy IX had Conde Petie (Scotland).
    • Final Fantasy X had the Ronso (Ainu), the Church of Yevon (Catholic Church, Dan Brown-style), and Word of God has that a lot of the architecture and other trappings are inspired by Southeast Asia.
    • In Final Fantasy XI, all four major city-states appear based on real-world nations. Historically, the Kingdom of San d'Oria was the most powerful nation, until the Republic of Bastok rapidly industrialised and overtook the Kingdom, making technological advances and founding numerous colonies. Of those colonies, one - Jeuno - gained independence as the Grand Duchy of Jeuno. In the aftermath of the Crystal War, the Grand Duchy of Jeuno surpassed Bastok as the most powerful nation. Sitting largely on the fringes of international politics with a unique culture is the Federation of Windurst. San d'Oria, Bastok, Jeuno and Windurst appear to represent France, Great Britain, the United States and Feudal Japan, respectively. To the Near East, the powerful Empire of Aht Urhgan represents the real-world Middle East.
      • There's also the Far East Empire, home to ninja and samurai; the Far West, where the buffalo roam and people wear Native American-inspired attire, and a southern continent famous for spicy food.
    • The Ogir-Yensa Sandsea of Final Fantasy XII is very obviously based on Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and Gulf War-era Iraq, with keffiyeh-wearing Fish People running around executing sneak attacks on travelers, and giant rusting oil field tanks lying around, rendered useless due to terrorist activity and the invading country not wanting to waste any more time and money protecting them. It even has a native who gets executed by the Culture Police-minded queen for being interested in something other than killing and religion!
      • There's also the American-accented Dalmascans, who are fighting for their independence from the English-accented Archadians. Granted, this is a dub-exclusive interpretation, and there's not much to relate them to the US and Britain otherwise, respectively, but it's an interesting touch.
    • At the beginning of Final Fantasy Tactics, Ivalice has just finished the Fifty Years' War against neighboring Ordalia (begun, like the Hundred Years' War, over a succession dispute when the king of Ivalice claimed the throne of Ordalia). It's then thrown into the War of the Lions, another succession dispute that bears some resemblance to the Wars of the Roses.
  • The Warcraft Universe has a lot of these, which is particularly evident in their architecture:
    • The human/undead towns and cities resemble 17th century and/or medieval Europe. They seem for the most part to emulate Britain, with many towns names ending in "shire" (whereas in the real world the shire is the area ruled by the town, eg. Gloucester [pronounced "glosster"] is the county town of Gloucestershire [pronounced "glosstersher"]) like Darrowshire, Goldshire etc. Stratholm breaks this naming convention appearing germanic in origin, although being architecturally identical to Stormwind.
    • The different regions of human culture appear to be based on different regions of Europe as far as the names of areas go. Most have British (those ending in -shire or being made of English words), French (Brill, Tirisfal), or German-sounding (Stratholme, Stromgarde, Andorhal) names. The most obvious is Stormwind being based on England. Northern areas of the continent are mostly either French or German with a few exceptions, such as Darrowshire.
    • The tauren's culture is similar to western Native American tribes; some male Tauren even saw "How" when you greet them.
    • The orcs were originally a mix of vikings and mongols. However, after the retcon about them being good instead of evil, they've gotten more and more of the positive cultural and architectural motifs connected to barbarians, their main city being a glorified camp site in a ravine, everything made out of animal hides and with spikes. There are also elements of Samurai Bushido in their battle culture, particularly in their "Victory or Death" philosophy. Essentially, orcs owe more to Star Trek's Klingons than to any real culture.
    • Jungle trolls speak with Jamaican accents, practice voodoo, do capoeira, and live in huts, while building giant Mesoamerican-style Temple cities and practicing human(oid) sacrifice.
    "What do ya mean what kind of accent is dis? It's a Troll accent! I swear ja-makin' me crazy."
    • Forest trolls speak with Hispanic accents, build giant Mesoamerican-style pyramids and have human(oid) sacrifice.
    • Ice trolls use floating weapons, zulu shields and tiki masks to guards their houses, and build giant Mesopotamian-style/Babylonian Zigurats, while worshipping/killing animal gods, and practicing human(oid) sacrifice.
    • Sandfury trolls seem to be based on a mix of ancient Egypt and the Aztecs. Their dead are mummified, but the couple of pyramids in the Zul'Farak dungeon are Aztec style. They practice human(oid) sacrifice.
    • The qiraji and some silithid have a sort of amalgamation of Egyptian and Mesopotamian architecture (most of the Silithid live in enormous hives).
    • The night elves are an unholy mashup of Classical Greece and Feudal Japan, with some Nordic elements as well. Fluted columns stand side by side with torii in many parts of their lands. Also, the style of dress of night elf male aristocrats greatly resembles Japanese court robes.
    • The blood elves, on the other hand, have influences from the Middle East. Their buildings often are adorned with geometric archways, rugs and floor cushions, and hookah pipes. Their voices and mannerisms, however, resembles the 20th Century American Spoiled Rich Brat.
    • The dwarves' use of runes and their hairdos and braided beards seems inspired by the vikings. They talk with very thick Scottish accents and can do the Cossack dance, however.
    • The draenei are a bit all over the place, with eastern European accents, Crystal Spires and Togas architecture, some Southern Asian and Middle Eastern influences, and Greek-sounding names.
    • The pandaren have a pseudo-Chinese culture. They were originally styled as samurai, but this offended Chinese fans since pandas are their national animal (and the only place in the world where they're found in the wild).
      • With Pandaria becoming available in World of Warcraft, this has been expanded greatly, along with other races inhabiting that continent that tend to also draw on Chinese/Asian culture. For example, the Mogu, whose very name in Chinese roughly translates as "devil ancient" (and indeed most new races and creature are named more or less after Chinese words). The local demigods resemble the four Chinese mythological symbols for cardinal directions, except for the Tortoise being replaced with an Ox. And Pandaria has a Great Wall of its own, with the insectoid Mantid presumably representing a threat akin to the Mongols with their warrior culture.
    • The tuskarr, who live in the cold north, seem to be the walrus-ified version of the Inuit.
      • The same can be said about the Taunka.
      • The Tuskarr also have heavy Maori and Samoan influences, as well.
    • And the vrykul are clearly inspired by the old vikings, complete with giving their leaders Swedish/Norwegian names.
    • The centaurs seem to be inspired by the Mongols: They're barbarian nomads, they live in tents, the males have Asian-looking facial hair, and many fight with bows, evoking Mongolian mounted archers with the horse and archer rolled into one. Their tribal leaders are even called Khans. Since the original centaurs may be East European mounted archers with the horse and archer rolled into one, it's a reinvention of an Older Than They Think archetype.
    • Gilneas, home of the playable Worgen, resembles Victorian England in both architecture and fashion.
    • Goblins are the other playable race introduced in the next expansion, but have been an NPC race since the game's launch. The long and short of it is that Goblins are based on a mishmash of New York-style Jewish and Italian (specifically Mafia) culture.
      • It'd be more apt to say that they're a Steam Punk pastiche of all the negative stereotypes of America. A group of greedy industrialists with a 'money makes right' attitude, they exhibit shocking ignorance about the rest of the world, a mercantile ruthlessness that would be shocking if it weren't Played for Laughs, the kind of taste in clothes that you'd expect from Paris Hilton, and an absolute belief that if you weren't born a goblin, you're not as good as they are. They're basically every negative stereotype of America, from trailer trash to Hollywood excess to robber barons, all rolled into one.
      • It should be noted that this really only applies to the playable Bilgewater goblins, and to a lesser extent the enemy Venture Co. goblins. The neutral Steamwheedle Cartel doesn't have much of an established culture beyond Proud Merchant Race.
      • The Bilgewater goblins are likely based off New Jersey stereotypes in general; Kezan is riddled with factories, filth and cutthroats in general. Oh, and Gamblin', Tinkerin', Laundry anyone?
    • The Tol'vir are feline centaurs based on ancient Egypt; they have pyramids and obelisks, statues depicting humanoids with various animal heads, and they live in a desert with a large river in the middle of it.
    • Warlords of Draenor introduces a large ogre empire that had once conquered most of the known world of Draenor, but has since come into rapid decline as the barbarian orc tribes push it back to its center of power in Nagrand while the outer reaches fall into ruin. In other words, the ogres of all races have been turned into Rome, which is an inspiration specifically pointed out by Blizzard developers.
      • Word of God says that the southwestern continent just barely visible on the Draenor map is the ogre homeland, so theoretically that could have a much more powerful ogre empire, the Byzantine Empire equivalent.
    • More recently, the Forsaken have been using chemical weapons, have begun hating other races with a passion, and creating concentration camp-like settlements
  • In Skies of Arcadia, you have Valua as Spain, Nasr as the Middle East, Ixa'Taka as Mesoamerica, and Yafutoma as Japan with some (more) Chinese influences. Additionally, the various independent islands in Mid Ocean seem to support a culture similar to England, or at least English colonies.
  • In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, the Clakkerz are Wild West settlers/rednecks and the Grubbs are the oppressed Native Americans.
  • In the Mega Man Battle Network/Rockman.exe series, Electopia is Japan (they didn't even bother pretending it wasn't Japan in the Japanese version, incidentally), Netopia (Amerope) is an amalgam of America and continental Europe, Creamland is Britain, etc. Some of the counterparts' names get a little unimaginative, like Sharo, which is basically Russia with the syllables reversed, or Choina (Asina) and Netfrica (Affric), which you should be able to figure out for yourself.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Tellius: The general plot of Path of Radiance seems has some parallels with World War II, particularly in the roles of many of the countries. Daein/Germany is a bigoted, militaristic aggressor nation, Crimea/France is a cultured nation invaded by said aggressor state, Begnion/Britain is a powerful, aristocratic empire to whom Crimea/France appeals to for help and the Laguz/United States are isolationists who come to join the Allies when they realize Daein/Germany threaten them. To top it all off, the leader of the allied force is called Ike (although he's actually from the France stand-in). note  The sequel didn't keep these parallels up; if anything, Daein in Radiant Dawn more closely resembled post-WWI Germany.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Of the two major factions, Hoshido is a pretty standard feudal Japan stand-in while Nohr is somewhere between ancient Rome and medieval Europe.
  • MapleStory started with fairly generic towns, but there are some new worlds that are very familiar. There's Korean Folk Town, "Japan" (complete with kitsune, kappa, and yakuza bosses), Ariant (a generic Middle East/Arabian fantasy world), "China" (with pandas and Ginseng monsters), and who knows what else in the future.
  • The map of Golden Sun's planet, called "Weyard", appears to be a very distorted version of Earth. It's actually Pangaea mid-break-up.
    • The starting area of the first game, Angara, bares similarity to medieval Europe, has a region similar to the Scandinavian peninsula to the north, and a (comparatively small) area with Oriental inluences to the east. It goes so far as to call the path from the eastern reaches to the western reaches "Silk Road".
    • The continent south of Angara, Gondowan, has Midde Eastern influences at the far north, tribal African influences further south, and is generally shaped like Africa.
    • Indra, which had originally been just southeast of Angara, appears to have Indian culture and is shaped like India.
    • West of Angara is Hesparia, which is dominated by a Native North American-style tribe.
    • Just south of that (though not connected by land bridge) is Atteka, which has Native South American influences.
    • There's also Osenia, which doesn't appear to have Australian influences, but is shaped like Australia, positioned where Australia would be compared to the other continents, and has a location called Air's Rock.
    • Various island chains also represent Japan (Izumo) and the East Indies (Apojii). There's even an Atlantis (Lemuria) in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean's counterpart (the Great Eastern Sea).
    • There's even a completely uninhabited version of Antarctica (Tundria) down at the bottom of the map.
    • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn added several previously-unexplored lands to Angara, including a massive overall expansion to the Oriental part of the continent, now collectively called Ei-Jei. The town and forest of Kolima have been moved to the northern Siberia area of Russia (Kolyma) they were based on, the beastfolk nation of Morgal appears to be Mongolia (complete with an Expy of Ghengis Khan's ancestor Borte Chino as king), and south we have a Siam-equivalent in Ayuthay (though the architecture is blatantly based on Cambodian Angkor Wat), the Indus River Valley town of Harappa (minus one "p"), and Passaj which is probably Tibet. The Japan-equivalent people have been forced by tumultuous world changes to move from Izumo to the island chain of Nihan, one letter off from the Japanese name for Japan (Nihon), and its capital city is Yamatai... as in Yamataikoku, home of the legendary priest-queen Himiko, our friendly playable Shrine Maiden.
  • The Quest for Glory series has each game taking place in a different region like this, each of them representing the four cardinal directions except for the third game, which was made as an afterthought. In order they are: Speilburg (Germany, North), Shapier (Middle East, South), Fricana (Africa, none), Mordavia (various Eastern European locales, East) and Silmaria (Ancient Grome, West).
  • The Glorious Empire of Overlord II is the Roman Empire with Anti-Magic.
  • Grandia has your party traveling East across an ocean to The New World which is clearly a distorted Europe.
  • The exact counterparts of the EVE Online nations is the subject of much debate:
    • The Amarr are closely modeled on the medieval Catholic Church... combined with the slavery of the pre-Civil War South.
    • The Caldari are a heavily-corporate culture with a few Japanese and Russian influences.
    • The Gallente are a hybrid of the United States and the French.
    • The Minmatar draw on Norse mythology for some of their ship names. They also have elements of Africans or Native Americans, being a very tribal culture.
  • Guild Wars has a bunch of these as well
    • In prophecies, Ascalon is a mix of various medieval European areas, while the Charr seem somewhat based on Mayincatec architecture
    • In factions, Kaineng city and Shing Jea island architecture and names seem based on various East Asian areas. Kurzick lands use gothic architecture with Germanic and slavic sounding names, Luxon lands use ancient greek sounding names.
    • In Nightfall, Istan and Kourna appear to be a mix of Ancient Egyptian architectureand Sub Saharan African environments, while Vabbi represents Arabian Nights Days.
    • Eye of the North introduces the Asura, with Mayincatec architecture and clothing, and the Viking-inspired Norn.
  • The LucasArts tactical RPG Gladius is comprised entirely of these. Imperia is Rome, Nordagh is a stand-in for the Nordic countries, the Windward Steppes are Asia, and the Southern Expanse is Egypt.
  • Sonic Unleashed doesn't even try to hide it. With the exception of Eggmanland, all of the levels are based off of various real-world locales:
    • Apotos = Mykonos, Greece
    • Mazuri = Africa
    • Spagonia = Western Europe (mainly Italy)
    • Holoska = The Arctic
    • Chun-Nan = China
    • Shamar = The Middle East
    • Empire City = New York
    • Adabat = Southeast Asia (mainly Thailand)
    • And even Eggmanland could be considered as the bizarro world version of Disneyland/Disney World.
  • The various regions in Pokémon are based on various bits of Japan, and, increasingly, other parts of the world.
    • The original region, Kanto, is based on... Japan's Kanto region. Vermillion City, for example, is where Yokohama is. Saffron and Celadon, the two largest and most busiest cities, are located roughly where the Marunouchi and Shinjuku districts of Tokyo are.
      • The Sevii Islands of FireRed and LeafGreen are based on the Izu and Bonin island chains.
    • Johto is made up of parts of Kansai and Chubu regions. Mount Silver is Mount Fuji. Goldenrod City, the largest city in Johto, is roughly where Osaka is. The historic and old-fashioned town of Ecruteak is fittingly where Kyoto, the historical capital of Japan, is.
    • Hoenn is based off of Kyushu (rotated 90 degrees) and Okinawa, although Okinawa is condensed. Another thing is that Sootopolis, while located near Yakushima, is actually based off of Santorini in Greece.
    • Sinnoh is based off of Hokkaido. Jubilife City is where Sapporo is.
    • Unova is based loosely on the New York City area (Castelia, for example, is Lower Manhattan), but has various elements based on other parts of the USA (such as a desert and, in Black and White 2, the Pokéstar Studios, which are obviously Hollywood) and even Europe (according to Word of God, Village Bridge is based on Florence's Ponte Vecchio).
    • Kalos is based on France, especially since it has a building which looks like the Eiffel Tower. This one is really drilled in more than other regions, with numerous NPCs spouting off Gratuitous French phrases and much of the music sounding distinctly French.
    • Orre is based on Arizona.
    • Fiore and Almia appear to be based on some peninsulas in the Hokkaido region.
  • Dragon Quest III did it to excess, lampshading it with the town names: A colosseum in Romaly, Zipangu just before Francisco Xavier showed up (with added Human Sacrifice), Edinbear as Britain, Portoga as Portugal, Dharma as Tibet, Greenlad as Greenland, Isis as Egypt with pyramids, Baharata as India, Ashalam with merchants calling you "my friend", overcharging, and giving you the option of haggling, and Soo with Hulkspeak: This my horse. It good horse. Most of all, the game's world map resembles (albeit very roughly) the real world, with all these places including corresponding to their real world equivalents. You even end up establishing your colony, "New Town," in what would be the mid-eastern United States, and it eventually goes through a revolution!
  • Some of the areas in Wizard 101 include Kroktopia (Ancient Egypt), Cyclops Lane (Ancient Rome or Greece), Marleybone (London, England), and others.
  • Fable and its sequels:
    • The games take place in the country of Albion, which is populated entirely by identically-voiced citizens from various parts of the British Isles. The map of Albion itself bears more than a passing resemblance to Wales. Moreover, Albion is the oldest known name for the island of Great Britain.
    • There's also the foreign nation of Samarkand, which is an amalgamated counterpart for pretty much everywhere else, being best known for the invention of katanas and gunpowder and having dark skinned people who don't wear a lot.
    • Aurora is a desert city state that resembles South America, with traits of ancient Arabia.
  • Valkyria Chronicles, essentially a mild fantasy version of World War II, has a fantasy counterpart for nearly everything that went on in Europe at that time (including the continent itself, which is named "Europa"). The most notable example are the Darcsen, a persecuted race who have managed to hold on to their heritage and customs despite being scattered all over the world. Although clearly based on WWII-era Jews, they also wear shawls for (vaguely defined) religious reasons and have a (unjustified) reputation for blowing people up and causing havoc that may have been inspired by recent attitudes toward Muslims. Many of the fantasy counterparts in the game blend together elements of different cultures like this.
    • The East-Europan Empire has elements of Germany and if you look closely into the Empire's backstory and structure, there's more than a passing resemblance as well to the Habsburg Empire/Austria-Hungary. Hell, the event that sparked the First Europan War was essentially a slightly edited version of Franz Ferdinand's death.
    • Gallia itself seems to incorporate many elements of Switzerland and Finland. It has universal conscription as well as fighting hard against a larger invader. Also Gallia is wedged between larger powers in the north west coast of Europa and tries to remain neutral in the conflict, similar to the low countries like Belgium and the Netherlands.
    • Yahtzee lampshaded this in his Zero Punctuation video by using names like "Bermany" to describe the setting.
  • Brittania in the Ultima games is essentially early medieval/Arthurian England recreated on another planet, with religious elements derived from Hinduism and other places.
  • In the Ys series, the world map is an altered version of the Mediterranean. Eresia = Eurasia, Afroca = Africa (obviously), Romun = Roman Empire, Xandria = Alexandria (Egypt), Altago = Carthage, Atlas = Atlantis, Canaan Vortex = Bermuda Triangle, etc.
    • Ys VII came with a cloth map that made it blatantly obvious that the world the Ys series takes place in is an alternate Earth. The most obvious parallel is that the country in what is Greece in our world is named Greek, and Africa is Afroca. They aren't even trying to hide it.
    • The Rehda in Ys VI are culturally reminiscent of Native Americans.
  • In Sam and Max: Season 3, the Elves are a working-class, but discriminated against, race, who all have stereotypical Italian-American gangster accents and live in a ghetto called "Little North Pole", obviously similar to Little Italy. The Mole People are another hard-working and despised race, but they vary between Roma (fortune tellers with strong magic superstitions) and Jewish ("You don't look Molish." "By marriage. Rituals were involved!"), depending on Rule of Funny.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has South of the Border, which is more or less Mexico during Halloween, and Little Canadia, which is Canada during the Stanley Cup finals. South of the Border is home to Mariachis, 5-year-old boys trying to sell you oddly-flavored chewing gum, and several types of merrymaking but angry undead, and Little Canadia is home to Lumberjacks, animated poutine, and possessed hockey equipment. Little Canadia also has a Mind-Control Device.
  • The Azracs of Age of Wonders are a combination of the Arabs and the ancient Egyptians. In the sequel each of their successors is more clearly based on one of the two, the Tigrans being Egyptian and the Nomads being Arabian. And the Humans are late medieval Europe, as always.
  • Time Crisis:
    • Sercia = Serbia
    • Caruba = portmanteau of Cuba and Aruba
    • Lukano, although set in the Mediterranean, appears to be based on Lugano, Switzerland
      • Also in the third game: Astigos = Cyprus, and Zagorias Federation = Turkey
    • Time Crisis 4 mostly averts this by being set explicitly in the United States. City names are not mentioned, but Stage 1 looks like a stand-in for San Francisco (due to the hilly cityscape in Stage 1 Area 2 and a cable car in Stage 1 Area 3) and Stage 2 is Yellowstone National Park in all but name.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3: has one at the end of World 3 in which the world's castle is on a landmass that looks like Japan with the castle being located roughly where Kyoto isnote .
  • Super Mario Land is one of the few Super Mario Bros. games to use this trope:
    • Birabuto Kingdom: Ancient Egypt
    • Muda Kingdom: Water level possibly named after Bermuda.
    • Easton Kingdom: Easter Island
    • Chai Kingdom: Ancient China
  • Actually acknowledged in Eien no Aselia. The northern countries like Rakios are described as being European and Malorigan is compared to the Middle East, though we don't see much of it. There's also that pesky Empire to the south east.
  • The hard fantasy medieval world of Calradia from Mount & Blade has these :
    • The Kingdom of Swadia is Western European, sort of a hybrid between France and the German states, or like a longer lasting version of the Frankish Empire. The classic Knight in Shining Armor faction, with excellent heavy cavalry.
    • The Kingdom of the Vaegirs is Eastern European in flavour, mostly Slavic (and particularly Russian) in tone (with some Polish, Balkan and Hungarian elements thrown in). A mix of infantry and heavy cavalry.
    • The Kingdom of the Rhodoks is Southern European or Alpine-like, based predominantly on the Italian city states or the various Swiss cantons. This is even evidenced in the structure of their military : Very little cavalry, but lots of infantrymen armed with various spears, polearms and high quality crossbows. Politically, it is vaguely like the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
    • The Kingdom of the Nords is Scandinavian in tone, but refreshingly not of the stereotypical Viking raider sort (Viking-esque raiders are a separate mini faction of bandits in the game). The portrayal of Nords is more akin to Danish Vikings, the Normans or even the Anglo-Saxons. Their armies are very infantry-heavy and they have the sturdiest infantry in the game.
    • The Khergit Khanate is the obligatory nomadic, steppe-dwelling, Mongol-like culture, with an almost purely cavalry army. Some Turkish cultural elements are thrown in as well.
    • The Sarranid Sultanate, added in the Warband sequel, is the Middle Eastern faction, with various exotic light infantry and cavalry. As for the specific country they're based on - it seems to be predominantly Egypt during the reign of the Mamelukes, with some vaguely Ottoman bits inserted here and there. Its name is a reference to the pre-Islamic Sassanid Persian Empire.
  • Makai Toshi SaGa has the World of Ruins, whose locations have characteristics based on those of their Real Life counterparts in Tokyo. The town in the southwest that is never mentioned by name is implied to be Shibuya. The skyscraper district is Shinjuku (this is mentioned by name in the original Japanese version; not in the English version). Ameyoko is much like it is in real life; a shopping street, and it's close to Akiba, the electronics district, where you find the ROM you need.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • In the League of Legends lore, the Rakkor are definitely meant to invoke the idea of the Spartans, from their reverence of war to their armor and weapons. The tribe's former name, Stanpar, was an anagram of the word 'Spartan.' It doesn't end there. Ionia is a clear stand in for Japan, with a hint of other Asian cultures thrown in. With its long-extinct pyramid-constructing race and being home to The League's resident mummy, the Shurima Desert is Egypt. The Freljord is a mish-mash of nordic influences, and serves as a generic 'frigid northlands'.
  • EarthBound: Eagleland is America, with Fourside being a New York-like place. Foggyland (the area where Winters is) is Britain. The city of Summers appears to be a generic Southern-European resort, possibly Spain; Dalaam is Asia; Scaraba is obviously Egypt; and Deep Darkness appears to be Africa.
  • Red Earth takes place in 1999 on an alternate version of Earth which is stuck in a medieval/mythological state. Notable counterparts to countries on our Earth (which is blue, unlike what the title suggests) are Zipang (Japan), Icelarn (Iceland), and Sangypt (Egypt).
  • The chief organizations of Lusternia have a lot of basis in real life countries. Magnagora is much like WW2-era Germany, with their emphasis on racial purity and extreme nationalism; Hallifax, meanwhile, is a clear take-off of communist Russia, right down to their aims being laid down in "The Collectivist Manifesto". Celest represents a declining British Empire, with their emphasis on nobility coupled with their increasingly vestigial nature. You could also make a case for Gaudiguch being America: freedom-loving party animals engaged in a Forever War with the communist Hallifax.
  • The Special Stage courses in the Gran Turismo series are based on real routes of the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo, and Route 7 includes a replica of the Rainbow Bridge, which can also be seen in the background on Route 11.
  • It's not particularly difficult to see Fendel in Tales of Graces as being an analog of Mother Russia. It's perpetually snowy, resource-poor and just plain poor; an autocratic state full of soldiers and suffering. But what really drives this home is the comparison between Fendel and Windor, the home nation of The Hero. The two countries have a long and bitter rivalry—but when Asbel actually goes to Fendel and sees its towns for himself, he's left wondering to himself how these poor people could possibly be his "hated enemies," much like what happened when the United States came face to face with how poor in actuality the USSR was.
    • This is all true, except that Windor itself is slightly more reminiscent of England. The architecture of Barona and Gralesyde seems to blend Dutch and English influence, it's a monarchy, and of course there's the ties to English royalty - there's been a few English King Richards, for one, and then there's the Windsor/Windor pun.
    • Along with those, some Strahtan cities - Yu Liberte in particular - seem influenced by Islamic architecture.
  • The city of Grand Chokmah in Tales of the Abyss is basically ancient Rome on the water, complete with an Emperor; its overworld model looks like a floating Colosseum.
  • Tears to Tiara is based on Celtic culture, mythology, and the Roman Empire.
  • Tears To Tiara 2: Like the first game, a Classical setting, this time around the Western Mediterranean and Phoenician culture.
  • The Romance Game Be My Princess revolves around the royalty of six kingdoms which are obviously based on real-world France, England, Japan, Germany, America, and Italy (albeit all with traditional monarchies, even the America analogue). There's also a looser counterpart to the Vatican, and the "Season 2" sequel adds analogues for Russia and Turkey.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: Castle/Haven is obviously based on Medieval Europe, Stronghold is vaguely "barbarian" with some shades of Native Americans thrown in, but apart that most factions are based around fantasy concepts rather than real world cultures (Tower is the Mage Tower, Inferno is Hell, and so on.) At least, until Heroes 6 came along with Sanctuary, which is blatantly Japanese. Not only are several of the units from Japanese folklore (Yuki-onna, Kirin), their culture is similar, too. Their symbol is a lotus, the heroes' racial ability is named "Honor", and their penultimate unit is a serpent samurai!
  • A lot of this in Thera: Legacy of the Great Torment:
    • The Kingdom of Avalon is very much medieval England, with some Arthurian legend thrown in.
    • The Bons Chevaliers are medieval France.
    • The Grand Duchy of Dracule is very much Transylvania under Vlad the Impaler's rule. Version 4 makes Dracule more high-tech, throwing in some Polish and Lithuanian culture to the faction.
    • The Holy Order of the Pale Knight is a stand-in for the Principality of Antioch, with a lot of knights and crusaders.
    • The Men of Valhalla are migration-era Vikings (as in, the Odin-worshipping, mead-swilling, raid-and-pillage kind). The Men of Wotan share some Vikingness with their western cousins, but have more of a medieval Rus thing going on.
    • The Vashta Sultanate, Barkar Sultanate and Tahar Caliphate are the Turks, Egypt and the Moors, respectively.
    • Povos Hispania are the Celt-Iberians, down to the paganism and love of slingers and skirmishers, but also have some Portuguese influences too. Ducado de Sangre Valiente is Conquistador-era Spain, with some Aragon thrown in.
    • The Faustian Reich is the Holy Roman Empire in Version 3. Version 4 significantly overhauls the faction, keeping the Holy Roman side but also throwing in Prussia and the British Empire.
    • The League of Privateers are a mix between standard theatrical "yo-ho-ho" pirates, revolutionary-era America, and the Italian city states.
    • The Romuli Empire is obviously based on the Roman Empire.
    • The Gaelic Nations are a mix of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Pict and Celtic-Briton influences. Version 4 makes it more of a "barbarian" faction, with more shades of iron-age pre-Roman conquest Britain.
    • The Lao Che Khanate is very obviously Mongolian in Version 3. Version 4 adds a lot of Ming Chinese, feudal Japanese and medieval Korean influence.
    • The Uruk Dominion is a... well, it's an expy for Isengard, but there's a lot of Sparta and ancient Greece in there, as well as Spartacus.
    • The Warriors of Kukulcan and the Paynal Empire are the Aztecs. The Sycorax nation is based off various Native Americans, with some prehistoria thrown in for flavour.
  • While there are no direct parallels in the Ravenmark games, the nations of Eclisse (the game world) have origins in Real Life cultures. The Empire of Estellion appears to be a typical Medieval European Fantasy empire with a strong Roman influence, including the fact that many characters have Latin-sounding names (e.g. Calius Septim, Sergius Corvius). The name of the Imperial capital, Atium, literally means "view" in Latin. Similar to the Romans, the Tellions (the people of Estellion) revere a bird, but it's a raven instead of an eagle. The Kaysani have similarities to Spain, especially their religious fanaticism (although it's sun-worship here), several names (e.g. Alejo de Porres, Heliodore de Moreno), and the fact that their military campaign/crusade is called the Reconquista. One of the two Kaysani factions is actually called the Inquisitors, and they are determined to burn anyone who doesn't believe as they do. The Commonwealth of Esotre is a little difficult to narrow down, but many of their names are French-sounding (e.g. Lorraine D'Artim, Cyril F'Ourier). On the other hand, their Steam Punk obsession with knowledge makes them seem more like Renaissance Italians. The Sotran dwarves, on the other hand, have typical English names (e.g. Benjamin Allsworth, Dwight Lawforde).
    • The Cardani elves are a little odd. They don't fit into the typical representation of elves, revering greed in all forms and breeding like rabbits. Strangely, their philosophy of greed has a Japanese-sounding name (fukuyoka). Additionally, some of the weapons they use in battle definitely look like katanas and naginatas. Some of their buildings appear to have pagoda-style roofs. The Tenguko commanders are a dead giveaway, wearing stereotypical samurai armor and tengu masks.
    • The second game has the people of the Faiths, desert-dwelling tribes for whom religion is very important and who are not big fans of the Empire extending its control over them.
    • The tiny unseen Western nation of Brac is mostly known for its soldiers and mercenaries, consisting of phalanxes and peltasts (although peltasts tend to be women). As a society, they value knowledge and quest for the cosmic truth. Ancient Athens springs to mind.
    • Another tiny nation that doesn't feature in the games is the Maratelli Free Cities. The Maratelli are a league of seven culturally-distinct cities, but their major commonality is that all Maratelli love the arts (and parties). This might imply their kinship to Renaissance Italy.
  • Ōkami doesn't hide the fact that it's based on Japanese mythology, but the Oina tribe native to northern Nippon are clearly based on the indigenous Ainu of Hokkaido. Their territory is even called "Kamui", the Ainu word for "spirit".
  • An Octave Higher provides two examples:
    • The kingdom of Overture is based on 19th-Century Europe as a whole, being a colonial empire with colonies all over the world that has just gone through a major industrial revolution.
    • Dvipantara, one of Overture's colonies, is a stand-in for Indonesia; the place itself is never seen, but its inhabitants have Indonesian names, enjoy traditional Indonesian foods, and the scientific name for Mana in this universe, curcuma zanthorrhiza (temulawak in Dvipantaran), comes from a type of ginger grown in Java and Indonesia.

    Web Comics 
  • Twice Blessed has Ustav, which is obviously Russia, Lajuria, which is obviously Spain, and others.
  • As mentioned in the page quote, Azure City of The Order of the Stick is one of mostly Japan and a little of the rest of East Asia also. We haven't seen much of the rest of the world, but it seems from the Pantheons the North will be equivalent to the Vikings, the West will be Mesopotamian, and the East would be Greek if the Eastern gods still existed to make this version of the world.
    A single panel glimpse of the other Southern Lands suggests they're Southeast Asian, Chinese, Himalayan, and Indian. The Western Continent turns out to be mostly warring Evil Empires and various Lizard Folk, although they do worship the Mesopotamian gods.
  • Sorcery 101 uses this with the England counterpart called Terra. It's more an Alternate History world where some placenames differ than a fantasy counterpart.
  • Dominic Deegan has a several fantasy cultures that are strongly flavored by real-world counterparts: the Callanians are medieval western Europeans (knights, castles, feudalism, etc.), Semashi are renaissance Italian (high culture and homeland of numerous renowned composers with names like Ciarenni and Montefiore; being as they're dark-skinned humans, it also suggests Caribbean influence), the werewolves are Russians (living in northern latitudes and drinking lots of vodka), the Nagasta are Japanese (island-dwellers who are renowned for their seafood and traditional martial arts), and the orcs are Magical Native Americans.
  • Like Sonic the Hedgehog, one of its major influences, Exterminatus Now has Taika—basically Japan according to near-future sci-fi anime, complete with Humongous Mecha and secluded daemon-hunting orders—and Rodina, which we haven't actually seen but is apparently the EN equivalent of Glorious Mother Russia.
  • A Loonatic's Tale has an assortment; Nigota for Britain, and both Mercia and Mysteel for America (the trick is that they're versions of America from different time periods, and different attitudes; Mercia is the more peaceable colonial America, while Mysteel is a caricaturized version of modern America and our tendency towards ultra-patriotism, gun-nuttery, and warmongerdom).
  • The Erogenians in The Challenges of Zona are somewhat idealized Celts while Kivallia seems to be Plantagenet era England.
  • Niyam and the Fae in Even In Arcadia are counterparts to 19th century China. Seen further when it becomes apparent that the Gaians are trading with them in drugs much like the British did before the Opium Wars.
  • In Harkovast, almost all the races are fantasy counterparts to real world ancient cultures, such as the medieval European Darsai or the feudal Japanese Tsung-Dao.
  • Snow By Night takes place in a world that resembles the real one during Colonial Era, with Japethe corresponding to Europe, Everique corresponding to North America, Saronne corresponding to France, and Aradie corresponding to Quebec / Canada.
  • Parodied in Homestuck by Gamzee Makara, who comes from a sort of fantastical, Interfaith Smoothie religion that worships the Insane Clown Posse. Except due to shenanigans, his religion actually inspired Insane Clown Posse, not the other way around. Gamzee's religion was actually inspired by an Eldritch Abomination.
    • Later on we learn trolls had a counterpart of Christianity, complete with a Jesus analogue, though it never moved past the "underground cult oppressed by an empire" stage (I guess that makes the Troll Empire Romans?). It's hinted that it was more successful in an Alternate Universe.
    • The trolls in general share many cultural practices with the Spartans, but it's uncertain if this was intentional.
    • We later find out that Damara, the pre-scratch version of The Handmaid, is from "Alternasia", which is this to Japan.
  • The Sahtan in Vattu come off as Rome by another name.

    Web Original 
  • Vulpines in the Darwins Soldiers universe are analogues of modern-day Native Americans. Unfortunately, their depiction is not flattering.
  • Neopets: Shenkuu is supposed to represent the Far East, Altador is Ancient Grome, Lost Desert and Qasala are Ancient Egypt, and Meridell and Brightvale are Medieval Europe. Mystery Island is based on Polynesia and other island cultures in the South Sea.
  • Nocte Yin lives in Xon, Erisire’s equivalent of the Far East. In the fifth book, we get an actual comparison of which place on Erisire approximates which on Earth.
  • Open Blue has the Axifloan Coalition, a loose alliance of colonial powers consisting of everything from a 17th Century Nazi Germany (Sirene), to Imperial Spain (Avelia), to the Dutch colonial powers (Remillia), to the Russian Empire (Yaman)... to Switzerland (Axiflos).
  • Every culture in The Solstice War is one. Fitting since everything's a historical reference.
  • Worst Muse
    If your alien culture isn’t a thinly veiled allegory for contemporary politics, what’s the point?

    Western Animation 
  • Done purposefully in Futurama with a planet modeled on Ancient Egypt. And a planet modeled on American baseball teams. Also, the One World Order that governs Earth is a presidential federal republic with a constitution, two-party political system, Supreme Court, capital in Washington, D.C., citizens referred to as "Earthicans," and the American flag with the stars replaced with a picture of Earth. This may not actually be an example, however, as the episode A Head in the Polls implies that the Earth government may actually be the United States government.
    • Related to the first example, it also hilariously inverts the usual Ancient Aliens shtick: Turns out the aliens modeled their culture after the Egyptians, who taught them the secrets of space flight.
    • The Olympics included The Republic of French Stereotypes (No one likes them!). Especially hilarious when you consider that an early episode established that the French language no longer exists.
    • And Space Jews!
    • And the Native Ameri-... Martians from Amy's home planet.
    • In a sillier example, there's the Globetrotter Homeworld, and entire world and culture based on... the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Air Nomads are primarily based on Shaolin and Tibetan Buddhism, the Water Tribes on circumpolar indigenous cultures such as the Inuit, the Earth Kingdom on Imperial China, and the Fire Nation on a combination of Imperial China and post-Meiji Imperial Japan. To make things more complicated:
    • The near-extinction of the Air Nomads can be paralleled with that of the invasion and sinicization of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party.
    • The Southern Water Tribe also borrows from various Polynesian and Native American cultures, while the architecture of the Northern Water Tribe capital also adds a heavy dose of Chinese and bits of Nordic influence.
    • While the political situation of the Earth Kingdom (particularly in the capital of Ba Sing Se) parallels that of the Qing Dynasty's last days, its culture draws from every Chinese dynasty; Toph's family wears Tang-era clothing, Aunt Wu's usage of oracle bones for divination comes from the Shang Dynasty, etc. It also has areas influenced by Vietnamese tribal cultures (the Foggy Swamp Tribe, despite their Mississippi Delta accent), pre-Meiji Japan (Kyoshi Island), the Gobi Desert (the Shi Wong desert), and Korea (as seen with the hanbok worn by Song in the episode "Cave of Two Lovers"), each paralleling a real-life tributary held by Imperial China. And finally, in the sequel series The Legend of Korra, we meet an Earth Kingdom villain clearly based off the Chinese communist revolutionary Chairman Mao Zedong.
      • More specifically, Kyoshi Island parallels early Ryukyu Kingdom Okinawa, being a small semi-independent island nominally on the side of the Earth Kingdom/China but strongly Japanese in culture.
    • Like Imperial Japan, the Fire Nation is an authoritarian volcanic archipelago state technologically superior to its neighbors, with a coal-based military-industrial complex that justifies its conquests with the premise of "sharing prosperity" and uses methods like emperor worship and schoolbook propaganda to control its people. However, its material culture is primarily Chinese.
      • The Fire Nation also utilizes elements of Thai architecture, most noticeably in the roofing.
      • The geology of the Fire Nation capital was based on Iceland, which may seem a little weird until you remember that Iceland is one of the most tectonically active places on the planet.
    • Their association with fire and some of the words they use seem to indicate tones of Indian culture.
    • The ancient city of the Sun Warriors (the precursors to the Fire Nation) is based off a combination of Mesoamerican and Southeast Asian architecture, while their clothing seems to be primarily derived from Southeast Asian tribal cultures, particular the headdresses which resemble Iban warrior headdresses.
    • As all these examples show, the real-life parallels with the nations aren't exactly one-to-one.
    • Republic City, introduced in Legend Of Korra is a new state made up of peoples from all four nations, which grew out of the liberated colonies of a powerful empire, and is quickly becoming the world's cultural and industrial centre. Essentially it is America in The Roaring Twenties as a city-state with some Asian influences. The giant statue of Aang in the harbour is a clear parallel to the Statue of Liberty.
    • The Earth Kingdom (prior to Zaheer killing the Earth Queen) in Legend of Korra also has some Wild West influences: an urban and wealthy east and poor and rural west; the Kingdom being composed of semi-independent states ruled by Governors; an abundance of isolated farmsteads and small towns; large areas of relative lawlessness policed by sheriffs; and many of the settlements visited by the heroes have a distinctly Settling the Frontier feel to them. Which makes some sense considering that the war and the devastation wrought by Ozai during the comet would have set the outskirts of the Earth Kingdom back decades.
  • The Transformers (the original '80s cartoon) had the "Socialist Democratic Federated Republic" of Carbombya, whose leader was "Supreme Military Commander, President for Life, and King-of-Kings" Abdul Fakkadi, whose capital city's population was "4000 people and 10000 camels", and which was so stereotypically Arab and stereotypically evil that it prompted the departure of Casey Kasem—voice of Cliffjumper, Bluestreak, and the Teletraan-1 computer and of Lebanese descent—from the show.
  • Super Friends did this a lot with alien worlds. There was Camelon the medieval planet, Texacana the cowboy planet, Zaghdad the Arabian Nights planet, etc.
  • TaleSpin had the Thembrians, warthog residents of a bureaucratic republic clearly intended to be analogous to Soviet Russia. Then there was Panda-La, a nation full of panda bears who were such blatant Asian stereotypes that the episode in which they appeared was eventually pulled from the lineup by Disney.
  • The Blizzarians in Storm Hawks are basically a species of Canadian furries (who live on the same planet as the human characters), complete with sometimes adding "Eh?" to the ends of their sentences. The series itself was made in Canada.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Zecora the zebra in is obviously supposed to be from an African counterpart culture, given her accent and the fact that that her hut is decorated with stylized African masks. She was even meant to speak Swahili in her few foreign language lines, but the staff couldn't find a translator in time and resorted to writing invented words that mimic the general sound of Swahili. The canon explanation is that Zecora "speaks Zebra."
    • The buffalo tribe in "Over a Barrel" were obviously supposed to be the Plains Indians in the "Cowboys vs. Indians" setup of the episode. Some found an element of Unfortunate Implications in the fact that the Native Americans were made a distinctly different species from the more Westernized ponies. This became significantly less controversial once cows, donkeys, griffons, minotaurs, and various other creatures become standard sentient characters.
    • Pinkie Pie apparently grew up on what is supposed to be a fantasy counterpart Amish rock farm!
    • Pegasus ponies in general seem to take some influence from Classic Greek culture (which makes sense, considering pegasi are creatures from Greek mythology). Their architecture and fashion seem decidedly Hellenistic, and they were portrayed as a Sparta-like martial culture in a "flashback" to old times.
    • Meanwhile, the other two types of ponies both represent Western Europe, but apparently evolved socially at different rates: In the aforementioned "flashback," the unicorns are stuck in The High Middle Ages with a feudal monarchy, while the earth ponies dress like continental Europeans (from France, the Netherlands, and Germany in particular) during The Renaissance and have elected a chancellor.
    • The setting of the Daring Do book series is quite plainly a pulp fiction-style depiction of South America, complete with Aztec/Mayan stone ruins and a villain, Ahuizotl, taken from Aztec mythology.
    • Season 3 introduces the Crystal Empire, which blends late-Victorian architecture, Crystal Spires and Togas fashion sense, and medieval/Renaissance sporting events.
    • "Magic Duel" features visiting delegates from Saddle Arabia, which is a stand-in for... well, guess.
      • Actually subverted, seeing how the male delegate carries a crescent moon coat-of-arms, and Saudi Arabia does not have this as its crest (as one of very few such countries).
    • Season 5 introduces the Kingdom of Griffonstone, whose culture seems to be caught somewhere between the Urals and the Caucasian mountains (primarily Georgian, Armenian and Kazakh cultures) - with a dash of Tibet and Mongolia to round of the society's remote mountainous flair.
    • Whereas Griffonstone mostly scratches past Mongolian culture, Yakyakistan all but embraces it, combining Mongolian aesthetics with temper and attitude not unlike those of Vikings.
    • Even in the present day: locations in Equestria are based on different cultures of different eras:

      Ponyville seems to be based on 17th to 19th century Europe with their building's architecture mostly being timber-framed cottages which were popular in places like England, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Scotland, and Switzerland from the Renaissance age to the 19th century.

      Cloudsdale is based off ancient Greece.

      Manehattan is roughly based off 1940's New York City but with all the cars replaced with horse-drawn carriages. Some of which are painted like yellow checker cabs.

      Appleoosa is a 19th century American wild-west settlement, similar to those seen in Westerns.

      Canterlot seems to be inspired by France with a dash of Britain.
    • The official map of Equestria reveals significant similarities to North America, albeit with as many horse puns as they can stuff in ("Manehattan" and "Fillydelphia" being the most obvious)
    • In Equestria Games, in addition to the Saddle Arabians (who are more horse-like than pony), there are pony-like delegates from other cultures: a mare with a half-sun-like headdress akin to the Incan or Mayan culture, and a stallion with a very Mesopotamian headdress, beard, and hair/mane style. We find next episode these two are representatives from Maretonia.
  • Amusingly, despite Aladdin taking place in an Arabian counterpart, its major design inspiration was a neighbor of the Middle East, Iran - homeland of the script supervisor, who brought pictures of his city, and of Persian miniatures. Shades of the curved Arabic calligraphy are still seen, specially in how words (and credits) are written.


Alternative Title(s):

Call A German A Smeerp