Beethoven wasn't really an alien spy (as far as we know, any way). This Time Travel Trope is a story element where a famous historical figure turns out to have a secret life. They might be a time traveler, a vampire, an occultist with undisclosed membership in a secret society, or something far stranger. Basically, what history records about them turns out to not be the most interesting aspects of the character. While the change to the character doesn't have to be subtle, it's visible impact on the world should be, or else there won't be enough plausible deniability for the public to not catch on.
- Julius Beethoven Da Vinci
- Elvis Has Left The Planet
- Ancient Astronauts - for scenarios when an entire culture turns out to be alien spies
- Beethoven and the Illuminati
- People - list of historic characters to apply this trope too.
Game and Story Use
- In games where Time Machines are numerous, this trope is easy to implement. Chances are every major historical figure has been visited or spied upon by one or more time travelers. Therefore, any major historical figure could themselves be a time traveler, be aware of time travel, or just have grown very paranoid. They are, after all, constantly running in to oddly-accented strangers who seem to know way too much about them, who then vanish without a trace. Wouldn't that drive you to join a secret society, study the occult, or learn how to defend yourself?
- Games set in past eras can use this idea readily enough, but should be careful not to let the famous NPCs overshadow the PCs. If Beethoven is an alien spy, then the PCs should be alien superspies.
- The exception would be if Beethoven were the Big Bad Evil Guy - it's okay for the historical character to outshine individual PCs if the point of the campaign is for the PCs to kick Beethoven's ass eventually.
- Another way it's acceptable would be for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-style games. If all the PCs are famous historical figures with secret backgrounds, then many of the NPCs can and should be as well.