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I think there's no official stance on this, but I wonder if there's an accepted, semi-canon list of the peoples of the Forgotten Realms and their real world counterparts (that most likely inspired the FR ones, based on resemblance.)

The two peoples I'd most like to "identify" are the Damarans and the Chondathans. (Are Damarans "Russian" (or Slavic, in a wider angle)? Are Chondathans "Germanic"?)

(If it matters, though I don't expect it would, if all goes well, we'll play some FR based on - and deviated from, to suit our taste - the DnD 3.5 version. Definitely not 4e.)

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Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/2593/2788 –  Pureferret Apr 15 '12 at 10:56
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3 Answers 3

The bottom-line is that no "official concordance" exists. However, a GM can readily draw lines to cultures of Forgotten Realms with "real world" analogs. Answering from the caveat "[of] whether there's a widely accepted list," one can turn to Wikipedia for some excellent cross referencing on Abeir-Toril and its continents, including notes on commonly accepted analogs, e.g.,

Faerûn is the western part of an unnamed supercontinent that is quite similar to real-world Afro-Eurasia.

or

Anchorome is the equivalent of North America, and as such could be translated as real-world's Vinland from the Vikings.

By no means official and at best loosely "semi-canon," Wikipedia may be a good start for a GM seeking to research cultural identities for immersion, which I believe to read as at the core of the question.

Robert E. Howard's notes on Hyboria include overlays of known continental maps and draws explicit relationships and commonly accepted analogs are made by Howard scholars (Wikipedia includes such a Howard "table of correspondence"; Del Rey's three volume Conan of Cimmeria work compiles some excellent scholarship on REH's Hyboria development). Warhammer FRP draws near explicit analogs to Renaissance, 16th and 17th century, Europe (see the above related question for more discussion by @aramis).

You may be hard pressed to find a canon link. And while no official concordance may exist, precedent seems to suggest that it is an allowable indulgence to believe analogs can be drawn (if only citing REH!). However, both Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb have made comments that suggest real world analogs can be made, but they are not making them. Grubb appears to at least suggest that real world concerns about relationships were at play in the publication of the "Old Grey Box" edition, going so far as to consult Wiccans and alter the FR pantheon relationships. Jeff Grubb writing on "Grubb Street" in Realms and Remembrance notes:

I checked with one of our editors who was wiccan [sic] if any of the gods would raise hackles from people who might worship them. The only one she tagged was Tyche, which I turned into Tymora but otherwise left intact. However, I did not remember the map tags, so the original project went out with Temples to Tyche marked on them. Later we would retcon them with Tyche being a Luck goddess separated into good luck (Tymora) and bad luck (Beshaba).

If nothing else, it would appear you certainly have permission to draw analogs as needed for your game without repercussions by the authors.

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Just found this rather brief, precise and apparently rather well-received list at the Candlekeep forums: RealmsLore: Real Life Equivalent Nations in Toril? (and it has a "backup" / alternate posting at GiantInThePlayground: Forgotten Realms Lore: Figuring Nations and Areas & Real Life Equivalents in Toril? too.)

According to these, what I've been looking for primarily is mapped like this: Damaran is Germanic with heavy Slavic influence (or the other way round), whereas Chondathan is Italian (Roman?) - keeping in mind of course, that these are not direct but rather arbitrary correlations.

Does anyone have an even more precise, brief, clear and / or up to date list? (I'll give this a bit more time.)

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Excellent find. I think the combined analogs of both resources deserves some polishing up for Wikipedia, IMHO. If REH can have a "table of correspondence," why not Forgotten Realms. –  javafueled Apr 17 '12 at 13:01
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I was always of the impression that the Rashemi were russians, russian gypsies and steppe nomades. And some rashemi beliefs resemble some pagan russian myths. This was probably also influenced by the character 'Minsk' in Baldur's Gate, who evoked stereotypes about russia.

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