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

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. 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 the 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 orginality. (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.

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

Examples of Fantasy Counterpart Culture include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • 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.) The Shandians are pretty clear analogues for disenfranchised and displaced Native American populations, as well.
  • 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.
  • 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 are 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.
  • 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 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).
  • 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 is France, and Britannia (no not that one) 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!
  • Zero no Tsukaima 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.
  • 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.
  • Seirei no Moribito 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 East 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: President's son is named Eagle Vision, 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.

Comics -- Books Edit

  • 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.


Films -- Live-Action Edit

  • Star Wars
    • 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.
    • Mandalorians in the EU are based on the Celts, except that they are always cast as Maori and a "Mandalorian" accent is a New Zealand one.
    • The ground war portion of the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi is a clear parallel to Vietnam. A comparatively small army of natives, that lack mechanization, are able to defeat a large, mechanized invading force by use of guerilla tactics, intimate knowledge of the terrain and using the natural environment to their advantage.
    • Space Jews? Watto you mean? Also see Tuskens (Bedouins) and Neimoidians (Japanese).
      • Actually, the Sand People (or Tusken Raiders) seem to be the equivalent of "Indians" in the old Westerns. The fact that they attack Luke and try to steal his stuff, the fact they that kidnap Anakin's mother and torture her to death, and the fact that Anakin killed an entire tribe of them with virtually nobody batting an eye over it lead to some nasty Unfortunate Implications.
      • They also have a collectivist culture based around a storyteller, have rites of passage, and their history is filled with conflict from off-world settlers (indeed, they're called Tusken Raiders from their attack on Fort Tusken).
    • The witches of Dathomir are based on the Lamanites of The Book of Mormon, with matriarchy thrown in.
    • Wookiees are a bizarre mix: Slaves and discriminated against by humans, but, like the faithful Indian sidekick of the old Westerns, the most famous Wookiee has a friend from the "superior" culture who doesn't see it that way. Add to that the concept of Han Solo as a gun-slingin', fast-ridin', law-evadin', card-playin', deadpan-quippin' "space cowboy"... it's Harrison Ford -- 'nuff said.
      • Actually, the Wookiees seem to be the equivalent of African-American slaves (at least some of them being tall and muscular) brought to North America. Chewie could be seen as the black servant of the white man (Han Solo) and his family (both in the movies and the Expanded Universe). Unfortunately, Chewie (especially in the film A New Hope) is treated like he is subhuman. A white Imperial officer asks "Where are you taking this...thing?" White Leia says "Would someone get this walking carpet out of my way?" There is also the glaring fact that Chewie did not even receive a medal at the end of the film. Are there Unfortunate Implications here?
      • Only if you're looking really hard to be offended......Chewie is Han's friend, not servant. And as a large intimidating alien, rather than a human, any averse reaction towards him is justified. What is offensive, is to suggest that a large, walking dog/bear/ape humanoid is reminiscent of black people in the first place.
      • Further, the reason Chewie didn't get a medal is (as stated in the novel) Leia simply wasn't tall enough, and he got it later.
    • The Empire was originally Space Romans in the comics. Also, a lot of the medieval worlds. But the Empire in the movies are Those Wacky Nazis.
      • They're still kind of Romans, even if only because of how much Roman symbolism was used by the Nazis anyway. The pre-Empire Republic is very Roman-like, the Empire less so, but they still have lots of holdovers (albeit mostly visible/explained as such in the Expanded Universe).
      • There was also always a heavy British Empire element in the films.
    • The Nagai are based on the Japanese.
    • The Nelvaan are Magical Native Americans. Plains and Southwestern. Anakin even goes on a Vision Quest.
    • The Yuuzhan Vong are based on the Aztecs. Hence, the self-inflicted Body Horror.
    • The original Sith are another medieval culture. As are the Sorcerors of Tund.
      • Aren't ancient Sith Old Egyptian? Look at this pic.
      • Star Wars: The Old Republic has taken on some Cold War trappings, with the Sith in a vaguely Soviet-esque role. On the other hand, their philosophy is essentially La Vey on crack. British elements remain in the accents, but are far less prevalent in TOR than in previous games in the series, with things like the Sith-allied Czerka being comparable to the East India Company.
      • The Sith in the real world are Celtic faeries and demi-deities.
    • The Aing-Tii always struck me as Tibetan-like, with their idea that good and evil are just two extremes on a rainbow.
    • The Jedi were originally partially Jewish. The Starkiller trusted the secrets of the Force to his 12 children. Over time, one tribe of Jedi fell in with the Sith pirates, and the Sith now kill Jedi.
      • Also, they had a prophecy about a savior (Anakin) and when they didn't believe in him, he went and found someone who would believe in him (Palpatine) and killed them all off. Also, being a Jedi is punishable by death under the Empire.
    • The Massassi are, of course, Mayans.
    • The Alderaanians are probably based on the Swiss: 100% neutral. Except the Alderaanians really aren't, so it's subverted.
    • Corellians are based on Americans.
    • Coruscant is based on the Biblical Tower of Babel. It's even Vongformed rapidly because of the sheer blasphemy (in the Vong religion).
  • 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 Film of the Book The Lord of the Rings, 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 was reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. An invented scene features a song in the Old English language
    • Gondor was reminiscent of the Byzantine Empire as well as Late Medieval Western Europe in general.
    • The Shire is reminiscent of an idealised England, and also have 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 Irish 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.")
      • Actually, Merry has a Gloucestershire accent, and Pippin's accent is Scottish.
    • The Easterlings are a mix of people reminiscent of Eastern cultures (who use such tactics as having archers on top of elephants) and much more prevalent generic fantasy barbarians. The Dunlanders are generic fantasy barbarians as well.
      • The Easterlings weren't the guys on the elephants, that was the Harad. Harad is basically a mix of Arabic/Indian cultures. The Easterlings are more Mongol/East Asian/Turkish.


Literature Edit

  • Joe Abercrombie's The First Law has a huge country called The Union, which rather resembles the Roman Empire. Much of the action takes place in the province of Angland, where the characters fight against the Celt-based Northmen.
    • The Union is more late medieval Europe than Roman. The Old Empire however blatantly resembles the Roman Empire. Even down to names and architecture.
  • Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant: the Earth nations have colonized the Solar System - North and South Jupiter were colonised by N/S America respectively; Mars = Arabs; Saturn = Asia; Uranus = Europe etc. They develop Hyperspace travel and plan to colonize the Galaxy by constellations: USA get the Eagle, Russia gets the Bear, China gets the Dragon.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion universe does this: Chalion, Ibra, and Brajar make up the analogue of the Iberian peninsula, Darthaca is France, the Weald is the Holy Roman Empire (and used to be Gaul, or at least somewhere with Celts), and Roknar plays the role of North Africa (despite being an archipelago). To conceal this slightly, everything is set in the Southern hemisphere, with all the geography flipped north-for-south. Bujold even manages to have the Roknari's religion differ from that of the Chalionese despite this being a world with Physical Gods.
    • Well it's a heresy actually, although from the Roknari's point of view it's the other way around. The Roknari are actually more like traditional Christians in that the Bastard is their Satan while the other nations see him as performing a useful purpose.
  • The Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey features Terre d'Ange, which is France down to the language, and various other parallels - in one particularly egregious example, the Venice-counterpart is named "La Serinissima", a nickname by which the real city is sometimes called.
  • In David Eddings's Belgariad, the Sendars are rural Englishmen - the mongrel country (as by late medieval standards Celtic/Saxon/Scotti/Danish/Norman England was), the Arends are Norman French, the Tolnedrans are Imperial Romans, the Chereks are Vikings, the Algars are Cossacks, the tunnel-dwelling Ulgos are Ambiguously Jewish, maybe (though their god UL is apparently based on the pre-Muslim Turkish creator-god Ulgen, whose mythos is also where Eddings got the whole "saying 'be not' ends your own existence" schtick), the Nyissans are vaguely Egyptian or perhaps Indian, and the Angaraks are the "Hunnish-Mongolian-Muslim-Visigoths Barbarian Tribes out to convert the world by sword". Since Eddings tends to recycle his cultures whenever he creates a new world, most of the countries in his universes likely have such parallels-- the Elenium series has very familiar western kingdoms and eastern empire, if anything even more like The Theme Park Version of certain Earth cultures. The inhabitants of the main continent in the Dreamers series are obvious stand-ins for various Native American tribes.
    • Also, Drasnians are north Italians who live by gambit and counter-gambit (for a time in history, most Genoese merchants were also employed by the city's intelligence service); the Algars are "sea-of-grass" nomads, something in between Apaches or Mongols; Rivans are perhaps English whose character has been harshened by a couple centuries of never leaving Iceland. Nyissa's whole existance is centered around the Nile its jungle-iffic river. Angaraks are more complex than mere "take by the sword" barbarians: Murgos are an exaggeration (?) of the most militaristic periods of Japan; Malloreans are the innumerable people in the east - Chinese; Thulls are Slavs, forever exploited; Nadraks are Arabs who live in... Finland? And yeah, Ulgos are the Jews.
    • Considering that Word of God states that the Ulgos are based off the Jews in the Rivan Codex, I'd say that the Ulgos are Unambiguously Jewish.
    • More precisely, the Arends are split into three subgroups: the Mimbrates (think Norman English), the Asturians (think Robin Hood styled Saxons) and the Wacites (think Celts).
    • My interpretation was that the Arends were German: their geography is defined by massive central forests, their local barons tend toward total autonomy because for their entire history they were divided in civil wars.
    • The Melcene Empire in Mallorea has a few parallels to Persia as well as China, and appropriately they have invented both gunpowder and elephant cavalry.
  • David Eddings' next work, the Elenium and the following Tamuli, had the same kind of counterparts in slightly different measures. Most of the characters are Elenes, who are based after different ethnicities and periods of Europe: the Elenians are probably English with their queen, the Thalesians with their cold climate and horned helmets are Scandinavians, the Arcians with their feudalism, castle-building and extreme piety are medieval Europeans, the Peloi are martial nomads like the Huns and similar barbarians, etc. The Elenes are united under a central Church which is clearly based on Catholicism.
    \From here it gets insulting, however, with large dollops of Unfortunate Implications: the Styrics are equivalent in many ways to the Jews, being without a homeland, largely mystic, and deeply mistrusted by their neighbors. They are also regarded universally as simple and unsophisticated, even by their own leaders. Similarly the Rendors, desert-dwellers, are an obvious take on Arabs, and their religious separatist movement known as the "Eshandist Heresy", a clear parallel to Islam, is viewed with utter condemnation by all of the main characters. Moreover, the Rendors are repeatedly cited as stupid and credulous, and their religious leaders as selfish and senile madmen.
  • Teresa Edgerton's Goblin Moon and The Gnome's Engine do this intentionally, being set in a 'Euterpe' that's a close fit to 18th century Europe, and incorporating such parallel nationalities as 'Spagnards', 'Imbrians', and 'Nordics'.
  • Raymond E. Feist's The Riftwar Cycle is set in an almost-England kingdom that's conquered and brought civilization to the majority of almost-Europe, although they occasionally have trouble with their almost-African desert-people neighbors to the south, and the Greek/Roman hybrid nation of Queg. (The almost-Africans are ruled by a "master race" caste whose parallels to the Egyptian dynasties are too blatant to miss.) The titular Riftwar involves an invasion across space-time by a warrior race of almost-Oriental people who the author says are based on the Japanese and Korean cultures, called the Tsurani. Later books introduce analogues to Chinese and Native American cultures, among others...
    • Feist's take on the moredhel - dark elves - is quite consciously Native American - tribal, shamanistic, and resentful of humans for what they (with good reason, considering their life spans) see as aggressive occupation of lands that are rightfully theirs. With the human tendency to breed like rabbits and thus their advantage of numbers, pretty much the only reason the border to the Northlands remains where it is now is that the lands the moredhel now occupy are too cold and barren for humans to even want them.
  • The Fremen from Dune are pretty obviously based on the Bedouins (and on a lesser extent, the Bushmen) while Caladan has a strong Greek/Spaniard flavor (the Atreides bloodline is supposedly descended from Agamemnon). The Fremen are descended from Arabs, but ironically their wanderings before arriving on Arrakis resemble the Jewish Diaspora. The political system of the Galactic Empire itself is pretty strongly modeled on that of the Holy Roman Empire, with Persian, Byzantine and Ottoman influences mixed in. The Backstory for the novels makes it clear that many core elements of these cultures have been preserved across dozens of centuries, and even justifies this by attributing it to Genetic Memory.
    • The religion is a cross between Islam and Buddhism. The name "Zensunni" is used a lot. Also, the Orange Catholic Bible - clearly, radical protestantism and catholicism have merged.
  • The titular culture of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath has a LOT of Jewish parallels, being the Chosen People of a very strict God who have Temples and Books of Law; furthermore, they're exiles and nomads. Their religion emphasizes obedience to the Law over faith, and their God isn't all that nice. A number of Kencyr have Hebrew-influenced names, the protagonist among them (Jamethiel, with the Hebrew -el "of God" ending). Aspects of their culture, though, have other influences; their honor code and ritual suicide traditions, and martial arts have some Japanese parallels, while the segregation and hiding behind masks of Highborn women draws comparison to Islam/Orthodox Judaism.
  • Robert E. Howard's stories about Conan the Barbarian, where the countries of the Hyborian Age are transparent stand-ins for real-world nations or peoples. Examples include Stygia as a stand-in for Egypt, Shem as Israel, Aquilonia as Imperial Rome, and Iranistan as... well, guess. (Note, however, that these are supposedly nations that existed in the history of our own Earth, pre-continental drift theory and pre-mass migrational theory, so the similarities to the civilizations that they would eventually evolve into is doubtlessly intentional.) His favourite grey-eyed morose heroes are all supposed to be ancestors of modern Celts. A folk etymology for Cymru (Wales) is attributed to the Cimmerians (Conan's people) while the name Conan is Irish.
    • If you look at the map of the Hyborian Age, this becomes even more obvious. Aquilonia is about where France is, Cimmeria is where Scotland will someday be etc. Howard in fact wrote a history in which the beginning of modern European and Middle Eastern races are set out.
  • Diana Wynne Jones's own compendium of Fantasy tropes and skewering thereof, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, makes this point.
  • Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time does this a lot. Cairhien is a mix of France and Japan; Amadicia is modeled after Puritan America; the Seanchan have even more similarities to Japan than the Cairhienin do; Illian is a lot like Venice but its people have Greek-sounding names; Andor is similar to England and parts of the U.S.; the Aiel bear Indian and Native American similarities; Tairens have much in common with Spaniards... and the list goes on.
    • Wheel of Time is actually pretty good at this. While they have definite elements taken from different cultures they are very rarely actual Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. The Seanchan are as much Ottoman Empire as they are Japan, and with all sorts of other bits thrown in. Word of God decided to muddle it even more, when Robert Jordan said that the Seanchan have a Texan accent, the Illianers a dutch accent, the Aiel a Slavic accent, among others. Since the world of the Wheel of Time is meant, in-universe, to be the distant future of our own world, it makes some sense that the cultures therein would retain traits recognizable to the reader.
  • Most of Guy Gavriel Kay's books make heavy use of this trope, and are centered in a counterpart to a specific region of Europe:
    • Tigana: Italy
    • A Song for Arbonne: medieval France, especially Provence
    • The Lions of Al-Rassan: Spain during the reconquista
    • The Sarantine Mosaic: the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Justinian
    • The Last Light of the Sun: Denmark and Britain, around the reign of Canute
    • Under Heaven: China during the Tang dynasty.
  • Justified (or perhaps averted) in the Deverry novels by Katherine Kerr, where the main society isn't a counterpart to Gaul; they are Gauls, transported to a fantasy world to escape the "Rhwmanes".
    • Same thing with the Scottish society in Kate Forsyth's Witches of Eileanan series.
  • Some of Mercedes Lackey's Fantasy cultures, particularly the Hawkbrothers, are just Native Americans with funny names.
    • Lampshaded in her SERRAted Edge series; most culture in the fairy world of Underhill was either transported there by visitors from our world, or copied by the fantastically imitative (but woefully uncreative) elves. In fact, to point out precisely which human-world culture (real or fictional) an elf ripped off is considered a huge insult by many of them.
    • The Joust novels clearly take place in two-kingdoms Egypt. In an afterward, Mercedes Lackey admitted that she was tired of medieval Europe and wanted to try something different, and that she'd planned to just set it in Egypt, but that amateur Egyptologists were so picky that she renamed everything to avoid complaints.
  • The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series by Greg Keyes features this, most obviously the "good guys" countries, Virgenya and Crotheny giving very strong Britain-and-it's-territories vibe, Vitellio as a sort of Spaintaly (complete with the head of the Church based there), a variety of southern countries of Mediterranean-and-western-europe inspiration (Safnia, Terro Gallé...) and the evil northern Hansa with a Germanic flavor...
    • Indeed, it's implied and/or stated that those countries were mostly founded by the descendants of people from the corresponding regions of Earth.
  • Calormen, in CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, is Middle Eastern with Ottoman/Turkish influences, with a specific takeoff on the ancient Carthaginian religion as a plot point. Notably, the Calormenes are explicitly pagan, not monotheists--their religion is not a fantasy counterpart of Islam. (As Narnian humans are descended from various travelers from our world, and time is shown to be very slippery, possibly Calormenes are descended from pre-Islam Turks or Arabs. Or something.)
    • The Film of the Book of Prince Caspian plays up the Telmarines' difference from the Narnians by making Telmarine culture clearly influenced by that of medieval Spain, apparently supposing the original pirates to have been Spanish.
    • Also invoking images of Conquistadors that are familiar to US viewers but wouldn't have occured to Lewis or his English readers.
  • George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire contains a few:
    • Westeros is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Europe as a whole, with the regions being the North (Scotland, especially beyond the Wall), the Iron Islands (Scandinavia and the Viking raiders), the Riverlands (North France/Brittany), the Vale (the Alps), the Westerlands (England), the Stormlands (North Spain), the Reach (South France/Provence), and Dorne (Moorish Spain).
    • The First Men are vaguely Celtic, especially with their influence from the Children of the Forest and their concentration in the north after the Andal invasion. The Andals are stand-ins for the Saxons, displacing the First Men in the most fertile regions and imposing their language. The Andals also have some Norman elements, with their new church and tradition of chivalry.
    • The Iron Islands are stand-ins for Vikings, with their longboats and their habit of plundering resources from non-Ironborn ("We Do Not Sow"). They also have several Irish influences, especially their generational hatred against the mainland oppressors.
      • They are also comparable to the Scottish Highlanders, particularly the Lords of the Isles.
    • Dorne is a stand-in for Moorish Spain and the Mediterranean, although it also resembles Wales with its differing culture from the mainland and the way their rulers style themselves "Prince".
    • The Free Cities are similar to the city-states of medieval Italy. Braavos is even a City of Canals like Venice.
    • The Dothraki are clearly a stand-in for the Mongols and similar raiding tribes. They are a horse-centered, nomadic people who rule a vast grassland and can push around fortified nations with the threat of their mounted archers.
      • The Live Action Series averts this: although the culture and overall Dothraki social organization is preserved as in the novels, they avoid any of the Mongol-based imagery.
        • They also do a lot of things Mongols do not do, namely eating horses.
      • They use grass where the Mongols use felt.
    • The Slaver Cities-- Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen-- closely resemble ancient Middle-Eastern empires such as Assyria and Babylon: they build pyramids/ziggurats and use slaves for manual labor or as soldiers.
      • Also, the former Ghiscari Empire is quite analogous to Carthage.
    • Qarth is a stand-in for Constantinople, with its geographic location in control of a sea pass between the east and west, great oppulence and memories of ancient greatness.
    • The rarely-mentioned Sothoryos is analogous to Africa.
    • The Valyrians are basically the Roman Empire with dragons. From their small peninsula nation they conquered a huge chunk of their continent and their form of government, the Valryrian Freehold, was the Roman Republic with the serial numbers filed off. Now (middle ages), though their empire is no more, their provinces stand as independent kingdoms and speak dialects derived from Valyrian on their way to become separate languages (like the romance languages).
  • Katherine Kurtz's Deryni works:
    • The map of the Eleven Kingdoms looks like a rough approximation of Northern Europe. Imagine Ireland and the UK are attached to the continent, so that The English Channel is a broad estuary; Scandinavia is a simple vertical coastline sans Denmark; there's no Italy or Greece or Mediterranean visible. The analogues to modern nations would be something like Cassan/Kierney/Transha/Claibourne = Highland Scotland, Meara = Lowland Scotland, The Connait/Howwice = Ireland, L Lannedd = Wales, Gwynedd/Carthmoor/Corwyn = England/The Netherlands/Germany, Bregmagne/Fallon/Fianna = France, Torenth = Hungary/Russia/Belarus, Tralia/The Forcinn = The Levant (Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan), R'Kassi = North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, plus Arabia).
    • Culturally, the regions and their inhabitants as depicted in the text match their real world analogues; R'Kassi horses are famous, as is Fianna wine, while people from the Cassan/Kierney/Transha/Claibourne region wear tartans, speak with broad Scots-like accents, and have a clan system and tanistry (elected leadership within the clan). A version of Catholicism sans the Papacy prevails in the west, with Eastern Orthodoxy prevailing in Torenth, Islam to mostly to the southeast and a Norse paganism in the far north.
    • Politics tends to follow some of the real conflicts of medieval Europe. Particular attention is given to the rivalry between spiritual and temporal authority, including disputes over the benefit of the clergy. Such conflicts are sharpened by the Deryni persecutions within Gwynedd; Church authorities forbid the powers as evil, yet foreign kingdoms (including Gwynedd's main rival Torenth) have no such compunctions. The Haldanes' solution is to claim their Deryni-like powers are different and a sign of divine sanction, though it plays as a distinction without a difference.
  • Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy has a number of these. Mijak is based on the Hittites and Summerians. Etherea has elements of Medieval England. Thzung-tzhungchai is clearly based on China (Haisun probably too, but we never get to see any of it) and Arbenia and Harbisland have very definite German traits.
  • Garth Nix's Old Kingdom books have the pseudo-medieval Old Kingdom, where magic works but most modern technology fails as you approach the border, where Necromancy is a day-to-day hazard sharing a border with Ancelstierre, which is remarkably like World War I England (or possibly World War I Australia/New Zealand given the author's antipodean roots) to the extent that the Ancelstierre army are armed with .303 bolt action rifles, .455 revolvers, white phosphorous grenades and Lewis guns and on the Border use both this and their khaki uniform AND sword bayonets, Mail hauberk with khaki surcoats and enchanted spears because when the wind blows from the south (Ancelstierre proper) magic stops working, but when it blows from the North (Old Kingdom) technology fails.
    • Also the Ancelstierre Moot (Parliament), the Chief Minister (Prime Minister) who runs the government, the Hereditary Arbiter (King/Queen) who lives in a palace without whose blessing you can't form a government mentioned when the bad guys start a civil war and the fact that they haven't taken over the Palace means they haven't won, and the fact that Ancels-Tierre is from the same root (Angles' Land) as England (compare the real-life French word for England, Angleterre)... it's England all right.
    • Ancelstierre also has cultural/political parallels with early industrial Australia insofar as being a nation bordered by a seemingly alien land that the government does not understand and fears. Protecting the nation's border is a huge deal. Australia is slap-bang in the middle of the Asia-Pacific, and until the 70s feared and did not understand what they called the "teeming hordes" of Asia. Other political parallels are also present.
    • Continuing south from Ancelstierre we come across some other vaguely-European nations, a vaguely-Mediterranean sea and then a vaguely-Middle-Eastern region, refugees from which play a role in the third book.
  • John Norman's Gor series actually explains this in the Backstory: the humans are literally descended from ancient people from various Earth cultures brought to the eponymous planet by aliens. Specifically the main human culture is based on Greco-Roman and there are knockoffs of Vikings, Inuit, Sub-Saharan Africans, Arabs, and others around the fringes.
  • Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books contain the fantasy-Japan Yamani Islands.
    • Tyra is analogous to Renaissance Italy (republic, Mediterranean-like climate, trade economy). The Great Southern Desert is Arabia with its Bazhir tribes standing in for Bedouin. Carthak is Africa, conquered by an empire originally located only at the north end of the continent. Scanra is Scandanavia, while Galla is probably something like Germany, Tusaine is France, and Maren is Spain. The Copper Islands are Southeast Asia (specifically Malaysia, but broadly many of the different island cultures). Jindazhen to the west of Yaman is the Tortallverse's version of China. Sarain is probably Mongolia.
    • Sarain may be a version of Persia or Central Asia, with the nomadic K'mir standing in for the Mongols. The political troubles are reminiscent of interwarlord rivalries between Turkic and Mongol warlords in post-Mongol Empire Persia, Central Asia, and Mongolia.
    • It's also fun to go through The Circle of Magic series trying to determine what each culture is based on. For example; Imagine Tris as an English girl. Good luck imagining her habitual snark in anything other than an upper-class British accent.
      • The Yanjing Empire is definitely based on ancient China, and the Namorn Empire is based on Russia. Also, the city-state of Tharios has a government like ancient Rome, while the caste system there is based on Japan, with the yaskedasi (entertainers) similar to the geisha of Japan and the caste system based on the burakumin. The food and weather that Emelan and some of its neighboring countries have is Mediterrean, and Chammur is more Middle Eastern/Arabic.
  • Much of Discworld is like this, generally using it to satirize the original culture. Uberwald is Transylvania (and Eastern Europe in general), Genua is New Orleans (with a bit of Disney World), Brindisi seems to be a mix of Spain and Italy, Klatch is the Middle East and North Africa (while also being a stand-in for any "generically foreign" place or concept), Howondaland is a mix of sub-Saharan Africa and Central/South America, and the Counterweight Continent is part China, part Japan (especially the late Edo period). Llamedos is Wales, Djelibeybi is Ancient Egypt, and Ephebe is Greece. Pseudopolis and Tsort are Athens and Troy. Lancre is rural England with a dash of the Appalachians and a Scottish lean, Quirm seems to borrow a lot from France and Italy, and Ankh-Morpork has been described as a cross between eighteenth-century London, nineteenth-century Seattle, and modern New York. The dust jacket for The Last Continent hung a lampshade on this; after mentioning the continent of Fourecks, it had a footnote saying "Which has nothing to do with Australia. At all."
    • The Empire (of the Counterweight Continent) keeps out foreigners by building a huge wall across the border. (It doesn't work, but then it's really there to keep the people in, so they don't notice outsiders aren't invisible vampire ghosts [i.e. Gwai Lo].) By and large, the Agatean Empire's approach to foreign policy was to pretend the rest of the Disc didn't exist. This is pretty close to Imperial China (as well as pre-modern Japan; the Empire is both).
    • The paperback edition of The Last Continent has it as a foreword, adding that it " just happens to be, here and there, a bit... australian" [sic]
    • And the Nac Mac Feegle are cartoon Celts with permanent woad.
    • And the Tezumen in Eric are clearly the Aztecs/Mexica.
    • Even New Zealand gets a look-in, recast as the Foggy Islands, and to add to the list of British Empire And Commonwealth Dominions, there are several vague but cumulatively telling hints here and there in the Discworld canon that point to there being a "South Africa" on the Disc, no doubt turned Up to Eleven with biltong occupying the dwarf bread culiniary niche and memories of a past war involving Welsh soldiers and a people not completely unlike Zulus (A Llamedosian regiment is said to have distinguished itself at a battle of "Lawkes' Drain"...)
    • So far, the only distinctly recognisable part of the United States to have made it into Discworld is the Mississipi River (The River Vieux) and the Delta, serving as an all-purpose Deep South/Louisiana, with creole language and cuisine, riverboats, voodoo, and witch-queens overlying a superficially-Disney magic kingdom called Genua. Up to Eleven, naturally.
    • While the country of Borogravia, featured prominently in Monstrous Regiment, is a fairly original creation, there are signs pointing to it being something of a small United States in a world that doesn't have much room for it. Constantly at war for no clear reason, it devotes all of its resources to its military at the expense of domestic standards of living, and the ever-changing commandments of its god Nuggan reach a level of puritanism and fundamentalism that mirrors America's unique approach to Christianity.
  • Tales of MU is set in the Imperial Republic of Magisteria, which is America mixed with the Roman Empire in a Dungeon Punk world. The island of Yokan is a version of Japan populated by Petting Zoo People. Members of a totally original race of little people who live in cozy holes in shires have a rural English-type culture. The forest-dwelling elves have Ancient Greek names and culture. The dwarves are basically German.
    • Early discussions of the ideas outsiders have of subterranean elves mirror American ideas of the Muslim world. When we see the culture up close, though, there's no resemblance whatever.
  • In Stravaganza, 'stravaganti' are humans with the ability to teleport between Earth and a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of Italy while asleep. The twenty cities of Talia are stand-ins for the most important Italian cities. When it's night in Talia, it's day on Earth and vice versa.
  • The Isavalta series is a rare use of a Russian fantasy counterpart.
  • RA Salvatore's The Crimson Shadow trilogy follows a young man of Eriador (read: Ireland) and his companion from Gascony (France) and a bunch of guys from some equivalent of Scotland against the wizard Greensparrow, who rules the invading nation of Avon (England). Don't work hard to hide the parallels here, or anything.
  • Brandon Sanderson's Elantris features several Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, though there's a bit of mix-and-matching going on. The Fjordell Empire occupies a political position similar to Rome, but is culturally and linguistically more Nordic, with a religion that seems equal parts Islamic and Catholic. The nation of Teod (of which one main protagonist is princess) is very obviously England- a small island that is nonetheless regarded as a great power due to its very impressive navy and canny leadership. The nation of Jindo, mentioned often but never seen, seems to be a stand in for medieval China. The nations of Duladel and Arelon, on the other hand, don't really seem to have any real-life counterparts.
  • This was famously used in The Lord of the Rings, where the Shire is obviously based on the English countryside. This was fairly rare in JRR Tolkien's works, though; most of his cultures were built by creating a language, and then a culture that used it. As he specifically notes in the case of Rohan, that their language was "translated" as an old form of English did not imply they were Anglo-Saxon in culture. Instead it was meant simply to maintain its position in the language family tree as regards to the Hobbits' tongue, which was translated as modern English.
    • On the other hand, the Rohirrim -- as noted under Film above -- are a sort-of Fantasy Counterpart Culture, as Land Vikings.
    • The Southrons are dark-skinned horsemen and elephant-riders coming from regions in the south, while the Easterlings ride great wains or wagons. They do not correspond to any specific real culture and are meant to echo generalized outside threats to early medieval Europe, like the Huns.
      • Some Tolkien-inspired fantasies portray dwarves as Scotsmen, though Tolkien himself did not. The closest Tolkien came to this was noting the dwarves tended to have harsh, guttural accents when speaking the common tongue. However, Tolkien's dwarvish language uses triconsonantal roots just like Semitic languages such as Hebrew or Arabic. However, all Dwarvish names are Old Norse. (Though those are not the "real" names in Dwarvish, which are never revealed to non-Dwarves.) Those in The Hobbit are taken from the names of the first dwarves ever created, in The Elder Edda.
  • Harry Turtledove's Darkness saga has an interesting take on this trope. The series is essentially a Fantasy version of World War II. So, every nation taking part in the series fills the role of a power from the war. However, physically, culturally, and linguistically, these nations are also something of a mix-and-match of various world cultures. Algarve plays the role of Nazi Germany, but its people are Scots-Irish in appearance, and their language is based on Italian. Another good example is Kuusamo, which fills the role of the United States, but is populated by Finnish-speaking East Asians.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Videssos Cycle, Videssos is closely modelled on the Byzantine Empire, and neighbouring states are likewise based on the Byzantine Empire's neighbours.
  • Jo Walton's world first introduced in The King's Peace features fantasy parallels of a whole bunch of Arthurian legend, with the island of Tir Tanager standing in for England and going on from there, down to Saint Patrick, Jesus and Arthur himself. Figuring out what the real world equivalents are is a great deal of the fun.
  • David Weber's Honor Harrington series is based on this trope, since its pretty much the Napoleonic Wars in space. Some are blatantly obvious, such as the Star Kingdom of Manticore being Great Britain and Grayson being fairly open about the fact that its Meiji Era Japan, and the Andermani Empire is modeled in universe after the Kingdom of Prussia. Others are little vague. Much fun can be had by history buffs trying to match up the Honorverse star nation with their historical counterpart.
  • David Weber's later work the Safehold series is set nearly 1000 years after humanity started a Lost Colony and had the project heads disagree about how deep the Space Amish needed to go. The winners implemented a religion designed to prevent technology that would attract the Scary Dogmatic Aliens that destroyed the rest of humanity. The conflict over this results in a religion very similar to Medieval Catholic Christianity. In addition, the main setting is The Kingdom of Charis, a (relatively) progressive and free-thinking island nation, with a powerful navy; it is visited by the protagonist, a cyborg copy of the executive officer of the colonists' escort fleet, who disguises herself as a man named Merlin, and greatly strengthens and enriches it, including establishing something very similar to Anglicanism. There is also the Republic of Siddarmark, comparable to the Austrian Empire in function and culture, Charis is England, Emerald is Ireland, Chisholm is Sweden, Corisande is France, and Harchong is comparable to China. (It is a large feudal empire, famous for fine silk, and gunpowder was (re)-invented there.)
    • at one point in the first book Charis is explicitly compared to late-Renaissance/early Industrial Revolution England or Holland.
  • The continent of Osten Ard, in Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is closely based on Medieval Europe, even down to the languages and their names for the days of the week. Unlike most Fantasy Europes, this one actually has a Christianity parallel (and not a Crystal Dragon Jesus one, either), although the many of the Rimmersmen (Scandinavians) and Hernystiri (Celts) still worship (or at least believe in) the "old gods" in secret.
    • You mean just like in medieval Europe?
    • And don't forget that the Qanuc or Trolls as the Rimmersmen call them are based on Inuit.
    • And the Sitha/Norns with their obvious parallels to Japan
    • Nabban is definitely Italy (ancient empire reduced to a small duchy, containing the central authority of the Church and figuring as the evil empire in the stories of Usires (Jesus))
    • The Wrannamen are probably Southeast Asians
  • The Commonwealth in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun is modeled on the Byzantine empire, but very obviously set in South America, with references to mate and pampas, as well as a stand-in for Lake Titicaca.
  • Viron, in The Book of the Long Sun, is also vaguely "Latin," with the city's ruler being called "Calde" and the state religion being a parody of Catholicism (with some minor details changed: it's a polytheist Catholicism that practices animal and occasionally human sacrifice.) The rival city of Trivigaunt is a gender-swapped fundamentalist Arabia. Both of these are justified in the story the builders of the Generation Ship wanted to send a range of human cultures into the universe, all of which would worship the Monarch and his family as gods
  • Jane Yolen's The Pit Dragon Trilogy really goes for the gold on this. The entire series takes place on a planet that was once used as a penal colony. Almost all the main characters are descended from the original criminals, and generally have an inherent distrust of anyone who wasn't (all the criminals' descendants have a double K in their name -- Jakkin, Sarkkhan, Akki, etc., so it's no secret who is who). The world is mostly great big deserts, great big mountains, and slightly uncivilized cities. Other planets keep trying to rule it and use its natural resources. The fact that the planet is named Austar IV is really just the icing on the cake.
  • Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber claim that every world in existence exists in Shadow, as a reflection of the True World, Amber. Hence, several cultures of Earth are pointed out to be reflections of some part of Amber (and several famous historical figures are said to have been trained by the long-lived Amberites).
  • Much of the work of C.J.Cherryh is powered by this trope.
  • The nation of Jackals in Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air and The Kingdom Beyond the Waves is a Steampunk version of Victorian England, although they have a much less reverent attitude towards their royalty. It's hostile neighbor, Quatershift is a take on Revolutionary France with the Terror Turned Up To Eleven. Cassarabia, is an Arabian caliphate, with the worship of an immortal god-king replacing Islam. There's also an extinct Mayincatec civilzation that's dominated by a Religion of Evil worshipping Cosmic Horrors that turns out not to be so extinct after all
  • When Fritz Leiber's heroes Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser get lost in Ningauble's caves and emerge on Earth, their personal histories and memories are altered appropriately. Fafhrd is, not surprisingly, now Scandinavian, and Lankhmar is replaced by Alexandria. The real reason for this is that "Adept's Gambit" was an early story Leiber had written prior to creating the his world of Nehwon, and he later used the "Ningauble's interdimensional caverns" gimmick to shoehorn it into canon.
  • Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett's Havemercy and Blood Magic are set in the nation of Volstov which is very similar to late 18th-early 19th cent. Russia minus guns and plus Magitek but with the geography reversed so that it's capital is close to the border of the rival Ke-Han Empire which itself is an amalgam of Manchurian China and Samurai Japan, especially the latter.
  • While The Hundred, the central culture in Kate Eliott's Crossroads trilogy doesn't seem to be based on any particular culture the Sirniakan Empire is very similar to the Ottoman Empire, and the Qin are very Mongolish with some Japanese samurai added in while the towns of the Golden Road they conquered seems very Chinese and th4e Silvers are remniscent of Jews.
    • The Hundred has a lot of Pacific Islander influence.
    • Speaking of Kate Eliot, her epic Crown of Stars series is basically a What If Europe, with a magical holocaust in about 8,000bc turning vikings into Lizardmen, amongst other differences. Two particularly interesting facets, Daisanite Church has a female pontiff called a Skopos (greek for purpose) and that the british isles expy is ruled by powerful druidic witches.
    • In general, the biggest difference between the world of Crown of Stars and Earth's medieval period is that it's much more, for lack of a better word, female-friendly in general- almost all cultures are either gender-equal (with men still holding the bulk of military power, but women dominating religious roles and political leadership open to either) or matriarchal, and the one completely patriarchal nation doesn't really factor into the plot. This probably has something to do with the fact that early humanity was guided and taught by the Bwr, a One-Gender Race of all-female centaurs.
  • In the Gentleman Bastard series, there are several. Camorr is obviously Venice, with its canals and Italian-sounding words. Vadrans seem to be modeled on Germans/Slavic people (tall, blonde, famous for alcohol production). The old Therin Throne sounds similar to Rome (it even fell to the Vadrans!) and there are several other city-states with differing cultures, as well.
  • Palladia and Merryland in Tranquilium seem like this for Tsarist Russia and Victorian Britain respectively, though the former is based on an archipelago and the latter is a republic; it's revealed pretty soon though that both were founded by people that crossed over from Earth over the years, mainly in the 19h century (and Merryland was mostly founded by Americans, at that!).
  • Monica Hughes' Sandwriter is set in a Middle East counterpart. With oil disputes.
  • In Codex Alera, the Aleran society is based on ancient Rome, using Roman terminology, system of government, and military structure. It turns out that there's a reason for this: they actually are descendants of a Lost Roman Legion that ended up falling through a Negative Space Wedgie that transported them to Alera, although this point is not mentioned much in the books. Despite this, Aleran society has notable differences from actual Roman society, primarily in that their military is even more professional and organized than historical Roman armies, and there's an absence of real religion in Aleran society. Also, thanks to the Elemental Powers that all the Alerans possess, they have Magitek that allows them a standard of living comparable to the 1950's. However, like the Roman Empire, Alera's biggest problems are not external threats but their own crippling internal problems.
  • Fairly obvious in Second Apocalypse. The Inrithi are the Crusaders (although their religion is more similar to Hinduism than to Christianity), the Kianene are Arabs, the Shigeki Syrians, the Nansur is the Byzantine Empire and the Scylvendi the Mongols.
  • The Kargs of the Earthsea Trilogy have some striking similarities to Vikings, what with their habit of traveling around in longboats and doing the Rape, Pillage and Burn routine on helpless villages. They're also the only people in Earthsea with light hair and pale skin. Subverted in that when, in The Tombs of Atuan we get a look at Kargish culture, it doesn't bear much resemblance to that of the Vikings.
  • Glen Cook's The Instrumentalities of the Night series takes place in 12th- or 13th-Century Europe and the Middle East, except with the names (and some aspects of the religions) changed -- and magic works. Most of the action takes place in Firaldria (Italy), the End of Connec (Languedoc), and the Grail (Holy Roman) Empire. The main character is a Sha-lug (Mamluk) from Dreanger (Egypt) sent to infiltrate the Chaldarean (Roman Catholic) Church and learn if they're planning another crusade against Al-Prama (Islam). Meanwhile, a cyclic shift in the forces of magic is bringing on an ice age much more severe than anything experienced in our history at the comparable time....
  • Cook's Black Company novels start light while the Company is in the north, then runs with this trope when they get to Taglios. Gunni are copy-and-paste Hindus, Vehdna are close to Muslim, and the whole pluralistic, pacifistic culture is what could have happened if the two religions and smaller sects had to join together or die. Painfully. In the name of a demon-eating goddess their gods are afraid of. Even later on, Hsien (China) gets tossed in there too.
  • Through A Brazen Mirror by Delia Sherman has Albia (England), Gallimand (France), and Brant (Scotland).
  • The Truwa tribe from Danish author Josefine Ottensen's Mira Trilogy are pretty blatant High Fantasy Jews. Mira's father is Truwa, and while you only become Truwa through the mother(Mira's mother is very middle-class and very white), Mira identifies strongly with the Truwa people. She eventually goes through a ceremony similar to a bat mitzvah, enraging her mother and putting her in grave danger, considering that the monarchy is planning to destroy all Truwa people.(think the Spanish Inquisition)
  • An Exercisein Futility has the Kalharian Empire, with a few similarities to Ancient Rome. They're both the same kind of The Empire
  • Justified in Dinotopia. The various cultures on the island were influenced by shipwreck survivors who brought their way of life with them. Also inverted by others who made it off the island. The second book states that the Egyptians were influenced by such people.
  • Lyonesse by Jack Vance has several: the aristocracy of Lyonesse seems to be vaguely Germanic, Dahaut is pre-Revolutionary France, and the Ska are based on the Vikings. Troicinet represents Britain. All of these are based not so much on modern images of these cultures as on representations from the 19th century or earlier (Troicinet is a sea power and balances the other nations; the Ska aren't noble warriors but fearsome and heartless raiders, similar to portrayals of Vikings in mediaeval English sources.)
  • In Chris Evans Iron Elf trilogy the Empire is clearly based on the British Empire of Victoria although the tech level is about a hundred years behind. Likewise the Mashugeb lands are just as clearly northern Africa and Elfkynan is India under the Raj.
  • The country the Knight and Rogue Series takes place in looks suspiciously like Europe.
  • In The Course of Empire and The Crucible of Empire the author claims to be consciously writing an analogue to Rome conquering then being assimilated by Greeks with the Jao as Romans and the Humans as Greeks.

Live-Action TV Edit

  • The races in Star Trek frequently have elements of this, though the pairings shift from portrayal to portrayal.
    • The Klingons started out as a sort of Mongol/Soviet hybrid, and 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 started out as obviously based on the Romans (even to the name of the race, which plays on Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome), but later took the role of Soviet analogs.
      • They've also been considered Chinese analogues, considering in particular their role as the Third Power and their periods of isolationism.
      • In TOS it was obvious that politically the Klingons were the stand-ins for the Soviets and the Romulans were for the Communist Chinese. Of course they did throw in various different cultural things.
    • 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."
    • Bajorans are explicitly a stand-in for any opressed peoples in history, including, ironically, both Jews (the 1940s in Europe and the Israeli Wars of Independance) and Palestinians, along with "Kurds and Haitian boat people... terrorism and homelessness are universal problems".
    • 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 later in each in each pair having caused the death of the formers father and consistently ridiculing them. In Garaks 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 favour of a military dictatorship that fed a starving people sounds like a description of Mao's Cultural Revolution.
  • On the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series 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 seems to be expanding upon 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. Joel Watson possibly put it best:

 "So the Taurons in Caprica seem to just be an amalgam of all brownish people?"

      • 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.
  • Firefly's planets appear to have numerous cultires 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)
  • Kings is set in the kingdom of Gilboa, which is pretty much modern America run by an absolute monarchy.
    • Well, more modern America 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 down by the Goa'uld.
    • We would've gotten sick of the "Daniel needs to translate this language." subplot if it occured in every episode. Especially if they didn't use subtitles.
  • 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 accent[1]. Ironically, humans seem to be the only species who have never taken part in the sport until the episode "TKO."


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Most Dungeons and 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).
    • 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 (slighty Greek collection of city-states); the Hordelands (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). And Rashemen, descendants of Rus (old " Russians Ruthenians were descendants of Vikings" anecdote plus grubbed-up Wikkan-friendly fragments plus Slavic folklore). Inuit Ulutiun 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; Aztec-style continent Maztica (removed later), complete with straightforward historical allusions; the continent of Zakhara (home of the Al-Qadim setting) is based clearly on mythic Arabia.
      • Altough 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 deties, 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 Lzherusskie barbarians. (Yes, it 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 Turkish (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 Dragonlance 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 Byzantine, 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 North American Indians, 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 South American Indians... 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, Karrnath as Germany, Thrane as any theocracy ever, Breland as England, and Sarlona as Communist Russia.
    • Pathfinder's default setting has quite a few of these, including apparent counterparts of the colonial U.S. and early-20th-century China.
    • 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 a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to 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 is full of this, as it supposedly takes place in one of many worlds manufactured to a similar pattern, including our own.
    • For the human cultures: The Empire is early-Renaissance Holy Roman Empire Germany, Kislev is a blend of pre-Petrine Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Brettonia is France in the high middle ages (with a healthy heaping of Arthurian myth), Estalia and Tilea are renaissance Spain and Italy, and Albion is druidical Britain and Ireland. Further to the East, you've got Araby, Cathay, Nippon, and Ind, which are just medieval European terms for exactly the countries you'd think.
    • Tomb Kings are Pharaonic Egyptians only undead and the Lizardmen are Mayincatecs: the High Elves and Wood Elves represent the Middle and Late Byzantine Empires respectively, with a touch of Atlantis. Their cousins the Dark Elves are post-Viking Scandinavians, with their reliance on crossbowmen and close-combat troops (even though they live in Warhammer's equivalent of Canada).
    • Chaos Dwarfs resemble the Assyrians and Babylonians, and the Vampire Counts are Hungarians and Moldovans. The Hobgoblins are Mongols, the Halflings are Jews, and the Orcs are the Barbarian Tribes. About the only one that isn't a Fantasy Counterpart Culture is the Skaven, with their crazy war machines and warpstone technology.
    • To drive down the similarities even further, take a look at this Warhammer worldmap. Tell me that doesn't look familiar.
  • Many of the factions in the science-fantasy counterpart Warhammer 40000 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 Grimdark. 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, there name is supposedly a nod to Canada's tremendous and oft-overlooked contribution in the World Wars.
      • Planet Armageddon, homeworld of the aforementioned legion, with its whole population constantly at war, and it's 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 Gestapo, and all of the worst fascists in history, really.
    • The Orks started life as a caricature of British football hooligans, 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, 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.
    • The Eldar were Asianesque first, 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.
    • The Necrons have some ancient Egyptian about them, and sometimes Mayan and Mesopotamian too-- basically they have influences every pyramid-building culture.
      • Even more so now, with all the new models.
    • 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 believe the world will end if they don't perform human sacrifice.
    • The Blood Ravens are somewhat based on Greece throughout its history.
  • 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 Inismore as Ireland and the Highland Marches as Scotland), 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.
    • 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 Imperial Britain 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.
    • Autochthon is Industrial Revolution Europe, with its endless mazes of factories, almost universal reliance on gruel for nutritrion, and decidedly crapsack feel.
    • 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, modeled 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.
  • The Imperium in Traveller bears a lot of resemblance to The British Empire especially the Lighter and Softer interpretations of the later.
  • Iron Kingdoms most of its factions are Steampunk 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.


Video Games Edit

  • 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.
    • 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, Soviet Russia is Blue Moon, 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 it's 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.
  • Tamriel, the continent upon which The Elder Scrolls games take place, is like this. 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 people of African descent with vaguely North African architecture and curiously English-sounding names. The High Elves formed the basis for Imperial culture, and thus might be likened to ancient Greece. The extinct Dwemer have a Steampunk Mesopotamian/Semitic motif. Mainstream Dark Elf society resembles medieval Catholic Europe, while the Ashlanders have more Mongolian trappings. 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.
    • 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 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). 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.
    • Incidentially, descriptions of Cyrodiil in earlier games suggested more Mayincatec trappings. This was all but dropped in favour of Roman ones by Morrowind, however.
  • 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 Steampunk and All Myths Are True, so it's not quite as Flanderized as most examples of this trope.
  • Dragon Age, also from Bioware, is set in the nation of Ferelden, which has a governmental structure resembling that of Saxon England (A feudal nation ruled by a semi-hereditary king who owes his power to the support of the barons). Orlais is essentially France during the Ancien Regime, and Antiva is styled after late medieval Italian city-states like Venice with a dash of Spain thrown in. The Chantry is based on the medieval Catholic Church, with its founder/patron Andraste being half Jesus and half Joan of Arc.
    • While not appearing in the game, there are also the nations of Nevarra and Anderfels. The first, though having a name based on a region of Spain, is not based on Spain. Nevarra is the nominal overlord of the Free Marches, a collection of a huge number of small states, and thus bears more resemblance to Habsburg Austria, which was the nominal overlord of thousands of tiny German states (thereby making the Marches a Germany analogue). Nevarra also has strong similarities to Prussia; Nevarra expanded rapidly at the expense of several Marcher states, and has a long-standing conflict with Orlais over a mineral rich region resembling Alsace-Lorraine. The Anderfels are also quite German, but resemble more northeastern Europe (Latvia, Estonia, possibly Lithuania) under the German Teutonic Order and its German-ruled successor states. The Tevinter Empire is obviously the Byzantine Empire, including the Imperial Chantry, which stands in for Greek Orthodox Christianity (Ancient Tevinter was the Roman Empire). The Chasind barbarians of the Kocari Wilds are (possibly) Celts, Picts, Gaels or any number of other pre-Saxon tribes of Britain.
    • Rivain is most similar to Spain, with elements of Bosnia/Albania (and the Balkans in general) as well, since it's stated that most Rivainis have converted to the Qun, Islam in Dragon Age; in real life, most Albanians and Bosniaks are Muslims, converted after the Ottomans conquered the Balkans. Further, Rivain is the primary battleground between the Qunari and the Andrastians; historically, Spain and Balkans were both the major European battlegrounds against Islam, the north African Moors and Ottoman Turks, respectively.
    • The City Elves appear to be Jews, complete with the Alienages (Elf ghettos). The Dalish bear more resemblance to Roma.
    • The Qunari are an amalgamation of historical Islamic societies--they command gaatlok, or gunpowder and cannon, with which they blast down city walls as the Ottoman Turks did Constantinople; they offer to conquered peoples three options (conversion, labor, or death) as did the early Islamic Arabs in their conquests (theirs was conversion, taxes, or death); and those who do accept the Qun are instantly known as citizens, "Qunari", worth protecting, regardless of their race or history - the original Qunari, the kossith, don't consider themselves any different from non-kossith Qunari, which bears a few similarities to the historical relationship of Arab ethnic identity with Muslim religious identity. Their language and the Qun appear to be closely intertwined, paralleling the Qu'ran and Arabic (Besides, Qun? Qu'ran?) For added flavor, the guy who founded the Qunari religion seems to have been a cross between Siddhartha Gautama and the Prophet Muhammad. They have a very strict honor code and abide by it in all regards. And their philosophy is basically Confucianism with grenades.
  • The MMORPG Granado Espada is entirely based around fantasy counterparts of Old World cultures and their role in the New World.
  • Freelancer contains four different "Houses": Liberty (United States), Bretonia (United Kingdom), 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.
  • 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 from the 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 video game RPGs contain at least one such country, usually modelled after Japan. See Wutai.
    • Other than the aformentioned Wutai, however, most Final Fantasy games are surprisingly good at inventing unrecognisably fantastic cultures aside from a few vague parallels. A noticable exception is Final Fantasy X's more deliberately asian-like setting (Okinawan, to be precise).
    • Some elements of the Middle East are notably present in Aht Urhgan, The Empire of Final Fantasy XI. San d'Oria also possesses many elements of Europe's middle ages.
      • 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 a native who gets executed by the Culture Police-minded queen for being interested in something other than killing and religion!
    • 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 beings 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 are 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.
    • 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. Even, dare I say, WASP-ish.
    • 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 have eastern European accents, Crystal Spires and Togas architecture, some Southern Asian and Middle Eastern influences, and Greek-sounding names. Enough said.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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 Steampunk 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 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 agressor state, Bengion/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.
  • Maple Story 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 Scandanavian 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 ancester 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 (Russia, East) and Silmaria (Greece, West).
  • The Glorious Empire of Overlord 2 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 Lucas Arts 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 is.
    • Hoenn is based off of Kyushu 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.
    • Orre is based on Arizona.
    • Almia appears to be based on some Peninsulas in the Hokkaido region. The same, apparently, goes for Fiore.
  • 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 Vegas. Midgar is probably based on LA or another symbol of American industrialization/urbanization taken to excess.
    • Final Fantasy VI had Doma (Japan). This is more evident in the Japanese version where Cyan is a samurai, not a knight.
    • 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.
  • Dragon Quest III did it to excess, lampshading it with the town names: A coliseum 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 with pyramids, Assaram Ashalam with merchants calling you "my friend", overcharging, and giving you the option of haggling. And Soo with Hulk Speak: This my horse. It good horse.
  • Some of the areas in Wizard101 include Kroktopia (Ancient Egypt), Cyclops Lane (Ancient Rome or Greece), Marleybone (London, England), and others.
  • Fable and its sequels 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. 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.
  • 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 SEVEN 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 Freelance Police: 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 panhandlers, and several types of merrymaking but angry undead, and Little Canadia is home to Lumberjacks, animated poutine (a dish consisting of french/ freedom fries, slathered in gravy and garnished with mozzarella cheese lumps), 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.
  • 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
  • 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 is.
  • 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 and 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 Sa Ga has the World of Ruins that has locations with 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 version of Kakariko Village seen in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess is a pretty blatant stand in for Native Americans.
  • In the League of Legends lore, the Rakkor are definitely meant to invoke the idea of the Spartans, right down to their armor and weapons. The tribe's former name, Stanpar, was an anagram of the word 'Spartan.'
  • 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 the jungle area (forgot its name) 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 WW 2 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.


Web Comics Edit

  • Twice Blessed has Ustav, which is obviously Russia, Lajuria, which is obviously Spain, and others.
  • As mentioned in the page quote, Azure City of Order of the Stick is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture 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.
  • 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 reknowned 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 reknowned 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 Loonatics 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 stage. 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.
  • The Sahtan in Vattu come off as Rome by another name.


Web Original Edit

  • Neopets: Shenkuu is supposed to represent the Far East, Altador is 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.
  • 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).
  • Vulpines in the Darwin's Soldiers universe are analogues of modern-day Native Americans. Unfortunately, their depiction is not flattering.


Western Animation Edit

  • 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.
    • 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 Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Air Nomads are based on China and Tibet, the Water Tribes on the Inuit, the Earth Kingdom on Qing dynasty China, and the Fire Nation on a combination of Tang dynasty China and Imperial Japan. There are also many subculture examples. For instance, Kyoshi Island is based off isolationist Japan and the Foggy Swamp Tribe is based on a combination of native South America and Mississippi River Delta. In the episode "Cave of Two Lovers", Zuko also met a girl named Song whose name and dress resembled that of traditional Korean culture. Later, Aang and Zuko meet the Sun Warriors, who are simply Incas with the serial numbers files off. So needless to say, a lot of different non-European cultures were included in Avatar.
    • The Air Nomads also borrow a lot from Shaolin Buddhist culture in addition to Tibetan Buddhism. The Water Tribe borrows from several circumpolar indigenous cultures as well as some Polynesian cultures.
    • The Earth Kingdom is so large it encompasses Qing Dynasty China primarily in the city-fortress of Ba Sing Se, but also has areas influenced by Tang Dynasty China (see early season 2) the Gobi Desert (see the episodes dealing with the Library of Huan Shi Tong) and Northeastern China and Korea (like the Song character).
    • The Fire Nation is based off of industrialized, Imperialist Japan -- it's a chain of volcanic islands who uses the premise of "sharing prosperity" (similar to Japan's argument in World War II) to conquer its neighboring nations. Coal-based military industrial complex, State emperor worship, schoolbook propaganda, etc. It also has elements of modern China from its inception as a communist state -- attacking the Air Nomads as well as the aforementioned propaganda and emperor worship. In the pilot, the Fire Nation soldiers had distinct Japanese architecture and samurai armor but their armor was changed to a more Tang Dynasty-like style.
    • The one Mayan-looking building in the Sun Warrior compound is based after the Candi Sukuh in Indonesia; the rest of the compound borrows architectural styles from places like Angkor Wat and Phanom Rung. And the clothing worn by the Sun Warriors seems also derived from Southeast Asia, particular the headdresses which resemble Iban warrior headdresses.
    • Kyoshi Island has more in common with ancient Okinawa and to a lesser extent Taiwan as a small semi-independent nation nominally on the side of the Earth Kingdom/China but possessed of Japanese influence and customs. Notably however as the Fire Nation became less Japanese Kyoshi became even more Japanese probably to avoid Unfortunate Implications.
    • Nothing is stated about the obviously Indian Guru Pathik though.
    • As all these examples show, the real-life parallels with the nations aren't exactly one-to-one.
  • Transformers Generation 1 (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 supposedly prompted the departure of Casey Kasem--voice of Cliffjumper, Bluestreak, and the Teletraan-1 computer and of Lebanese descent--from the show.
  • The Superfriends did this a lot with alien worlds. There was Camelon the medieval planet, Texacana the cowboy planet, Zaghdad the Arabian Nights planet, etc.
  • Tale Spin 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.
  • Zecora the zebra in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is obviously supposed to be from an African counterpart culture, given that her hut is decorated with stylized African masks.
    • 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.
    • Pinkie Pie apparently grew up on what is supposed to be 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.

Notes

  1. played by an Asian actor, incidentally