I asked this question: Are any of the kingdoms/realms of the Forgotten Realms based on real world civilisations?
It was closed for asking about Designer Intent, which is off topic.
I've run into pages on the web where people have equated various civilizations/peoples in the Forgotten Realms to real world ones (extant or historical). I was curious to know if there is evidence of actual correlations. The problem is that it's hard to ask the question without running afoul of RPGSE site policies:
Are any Forgotten Realms civilizations based on real-life civilizations?
This is essentially a question about designer intent, which is off topic.
Do any of the Forgotten Realms civilizations represent real-life civilizations?
This would lead to answers that are opinion-based. Again, off topic.
Is there evidence that any of the Forgotten Realms civilizations represent real-life civilizations?
This is probably the closest thing to a stackable answer but it arguably still falls within the scope of "designer intent."
For example, the introduction to Curse of Strahd is written by the designers of the original Curse of Strahd module (which is, admittedly, not within the Forgotten Realms but we just finished up the campaign so it's forefront in my mind to use as an example):
Laura and I launched into researching the mythology and folklore surrounding the vampire. We started with the vague, black-and-white image of Bela Lugosi in 1931, but found so much more.
The Bela Lugosi vampire was Dracula & Transylvania, who was in turn inspired by Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia* (Romania). So we see evidence that Barovia is possibly representative of mid 15th century Wallachia/Romania.
I suppose, if the question is salvageable, I might need to expand to ask about fictional inspirations that fall between the D&D civilization and a possible original real-world state.
Is there any possible way to rework the question so that it asks about these connections while avoiding falling into the scope of designer intent or individual opinion?
* Hmm... Is this where the Barovian town of Vallaki got its name?