I’ve been reading through quite a few Scum Villain fics now and it seems like there’s a lot of writers new to danmei and/or Chinese novels. The main source of confusion seems to be how people are addressed, and what their proper titles are. It can be confusing at first, but seeing all the characters referred to by their given names or their last names only is about as jarring for the Chinese setting as addressing a 17th century English man as “sensei”.
This guide is in no way, shape or form, meant to criticize- its primary purpose is to help any writers who want to make their fics sound and feel more appropriate for the setting Scum Villain, and the setting most other xianxia/xuanhuan novels are based in.
Without further ado, we’ll cover personal naming, titles, and some basic information about the Scum Villain world.
Personal Names & Addresses:
In Chinese settings, the names are always displayed [last name] [first/given name]. For example, Shen Qingqiu, Shen is the last name and Qingqiu is the given name. For the most part the given name will be one or two characters (ex. Jiu or Qingqiu) and the last name is one character. There are some rare people who have two character last names (ex. Gongyi Xiao). Usually pretty easy to tell just by looking at where the space is.
When characters are talking to each other, their relationship/social status is everything. For two people of equal status, they usually address each other by their FULL NAME (last name + full given name).
Calling someone by their first/given name is usually something only people either higher in the social hierarchy, family/childhood friends, or an elder would do. Using someone’s first name is seen as very intimate- it raises all sorts of questions if a junior disciple calls their senior disciple or, god forbid, their teacher, by their first name.
Keep in mind, “pet names” are pretty much non-existent in this setting. The closest we get would be prefixes that are occasionally used by very close friends or family. The prefixes we usually see are xiao-[one syllable name] or a-[one syllable name]. For examples, look to Yue Qingyuan’s nickname of “ Xiao-Jiu ” for his childhood friend Shen Jiu or Ning Yingying’s nickname for Luo Binghe “A-Luo”. Note that even after the end of the novel, Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe still call each other the way they always have without any pet names (Shizun and Binghe respectively).
Calling someone by their last name always has a suffix tacked on. Some of these titles we see often also help denote the relationship between the two characters. You would never just use someone’s last name on its own.
The suffixes are pretty self explanatory. The ones we see in SV are down below:
- shixiong: Elder Martial Brother
-shidi: Younger Martial Brother
- shijie : Elder Martial Sister
- shimei: Younger Martial Sister
- shibo: Elder Martial Uncle
- shishu: Younger Martial Uncle
Note that the younger/older title refers to your ranking in the sect or the time you entered, not your age. You could easily have a disciple calling a younger disciple -shixiong , or call someone older than you -shidi. Furthermore, the title you use in regards to others doesn't change even if you become more skilled or stronger; if you initially started off calling someone -shixiong, you would continue to call them that, barring some major status changes like becoming peak head.
When you use these suffixes, you'll almost always see [Last name]-suffix. Yue Qingyuan would call Liu Qingge "Liu-shidi" or just "shidi". Very rarely, you see someone call another person by [given name]-suffix, but that's only when the two people in question are very close. Yue Qingyuan calls Shen Qingqiu "Qingqiu-shidi" due to their history together, but calls everyone else by [last name]-shidi. These suffixes are also used only between members of the same sect. Shen Qingqiu would call a disciple from Huan Hua Palace by their full name (ex Gongyi Xiao).
For example, Luo Binghe refers to Ning Yingying as “Ning- shijie ” even though they’re around the same age because she entered the sect first. Even at the end of the series where Luo Binghe vastly outpowers Ning Yingying, he still refers to her as "Ning-shijie", since the titles remain the static.
Additionally, a disciple would call the peak lord of a different peak either -shishu or -shibo depending on the masters’ relative ranks. For example, a disciple of Qing Jing peak would call Liu Qingge “Liu- shishu” since Shen Qingqiu is higher seniority than Liu Qingge. Similarly, disciples from any peak except Yue QingYuan (sect head) would call Shen Qingqiu “Shen- shibo” , since Shen Qingqiu is higher ranked. Similarly, a disciple would call a disciple from a different peak based on the seniority of the peaks. For example, Liu Mingyan as a disciple of Xian Shu peak would call everyone from Qing Jing Peak [last name]-shixiong/shijie because Qing Jing Peak has higher ranking.
In the world of SV, there are four big cultivation sects, and lots of little ones. The four big cultivation sects are as follows:
Zhao Hua Temple- don’t know much about them, mostly made up of monks. In charge of barriers.
Tian Yi Overlook- don’t know much about them
Huan Hua Palace- the 2nd most influential sect. They are the wealthiest sect, and extremely militaristic. Also fairly well known for their maze wards. They have a water dungeon where all the big name criminals in the cultivation world get stashed. Focus is on military strategies/structure. They claim the forestry area near Bailu Forest as part of their territory- Bailu Mountain is where Tianlang-Jun was sealed and where Shen Qingqiu finds the Sun and Moon Dew Seeds.
Cang Qiong Sect- the sect we spend the most time with, and the most influential of the big four. It’s located in the Tian Gong mountain range and has 12 peaks, each specializing in a different thing. Each peak has a peak lord, and all the peak lords are promoted/leave the peaks together to foster harmony and good feelings between peaks. When they get promoted, they all get a generational character name, and change their old name. This generation peak lords have the generational name “Qing” which is why they all have Qing as the first syllable. (ie Yue Qingyuan, Shen Qingqiu, Liu Qingge, etc).
Since these are generational names, only this current generation of peak lords would receive the "Qing" placed into their name- previous or following generations would likely have a different shared generational name.
The peak lord seniority is based on the rank of the peak itself. MXTX didn’t name or mention all the peaks/seniorities, but here’s the peaks and their ranking that we know of:
- Qiong Ding Peak- led by Yue Qingyuan (sect leader)
Specializes in administration
2. Qing Jing Peak- led by Shen Qingqiu
Known for its scholars
3. Wan Jian Peak- led by Wei Qingwei
Sword forging peak. Has Hong Jing sword, which reacts to possession
4. An Ding Peak- led by Shang Qinghua
Specializes in Logistics
5. Xian Shu Peak- lead by Qi Qingqi
Only females peak
- Bai Zhan Peak- lead by Liu Qingge
Known for its warriors
?. Qian Cao Peak- lead by Mu Qingfang
Specializes in medicine
?. Zui Xian Peak- leader N/A
Specializes in alcohol (?)
?. Ku Xing Peak- leader N/A
All male peak, ascetics (monks)
The suffix “- shixiong” and “ -shidi ” between the peak lords is based off the peak ranking. So Shen Qingqiu would call anyone except the sect leader “- shidi/-shimei ” and all the other peak heads would call him “ -shixiong”