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Suppose you have a set up with a GM and several PCs, each with some interesting situations set up related to their characters' interests. Let's say:
They're stories may be stitched together, but there are lots of threads in each character's story where the interesting stuff is happening separate from the other PCs. The question is: how do we keep all the players at the table engaged in each others stories when their own characters are not in play?
The simplest (and perhaps most common?) option is to simply take turns: the GM does a scene with usually just one PC, and the others non-active characters watch and enjoy the story unfolding. This still consigns those players to creative inactivity, however. They can agree to politely enjoy and wait their turn - but isn't there some way to squeeze more fun into their four hours?
The Polaris option is to distribute authority and key NPCs: when a player doesn't have the protagonist-spotlight, they have a realm of some other fun ways to throw things into the story. This is a promising option, but suppose we have a player like Drew: he has a real strong affinity for playing the game through his character, but he doesn't like the freewheeling open-endedness of Director stance and GM-like roles.
There's Fan Mail: there's a common resource you can assign to other players, and thus effect the flow of play even if you're not in the scene yourself. That's an awesome mechanic, but that sort of fun (using rewards with others to help shape the story) is different from the sort of fun you get from pursuing your own character.
What other ways - in terms of rules, but also prep and socials - can we make this situation work? (Mess with the sample players/characters as necessary!)