How to keep specific players interested in an 8 person party?

I would like to avoid any “they should just leave” answers, as we all know that is obviously a possibility.

We have an 8 person campaign for 5e, and it has been going on for a about a year now. When we first started it was just a big group of friends wanting to hang out and play a game together. But as we progress, everyone is maybe overly eager to the point that we are stepping on a lot of toes to pretty much get anything done. Any time we are faced with a decision, we ALL have our own idea of what to do, and it becomes a long discussion about whether or not we should save the goblins, or dispose of them, and we’re almost pleading our cases to the other group members to get on our side. Too many voices. It’s hard to have input in the group, AND even if you do, for it to have a big enough impact to matter.

All this being said, there is someone in our group that is having an issue with the party size. He is pretty adamant that it’s not any of us as players or our PC’s, but solely because the party size is so large that we don’t all get to play the game how we want. He enjoyed a campaign where we were split, because both groups were smaller in their own campaigns essentially, and everyone had a say.

For my question, I am wanting to figure out ways to alleviate this problem WITHOUT splitting the party up again. There was an ordeal we had where it seemed like we’d be split for good, and the point was made “why are we even sitting at the same table then if we can’t play together?”

With all that in mind: What are some ways we can make party members feel involved enough, and to make quick less argumentative decisions in order to overcome the large group?

I have read other questions of how to manage large parties, but those are from the DM perspective and don’t address this specific type of situation. If there is another question asked about this, I would love to know!

How can I find the whereabouts of a specific person?

I am playing in D&D 4e campaign, and in this campaign my character is looking for a specific individual. My PC knows this individual (they were/are married) very well, and has a part of the target’s body (a lock of hair). I’d like to find this individual, using either spells (wizard or other classes), rituals, magic items, or any another technique, as long as it can be found in some D&D rulebook.

I most likely cannot track this person via mundane means, because they could be anywhere on the entire continent.

For context, my PC is level 8, but I am also willing to hear answers that apply to higher levels, so that I can plan on using them once I reach those levels.

Are there any spells, rituals, magic items, or other techniques that can be used to locate or contact a person whose whereabouts I do now know?

Is there always a “designated” person to lead/move the party?

After have played only a few session (actually 5 sessions of 2-4 hours) I’ve noticed something that I found quite strange.
In our group we are 4 players: I (Newbie), A (Experienced), B (Newbie like me), C (Beginner).

This is an optional description of them that you don’t have to read if you don’t want.

  • I‘m always quite quiet, looking for in the situation trying to understand the scenario and the behavior of both NPC and the other PCs (AKA: learning). Also, I always take care of the team, I mean, I always try to do the most wise and less dangerous or self-destructive actions (like ask forgiveness to someone that C tried to persuade with a low roll) – when they give me a chance.
  • A is 100% of the time roleplaying, he is really in his character and play as him character would do. Even when he speak, he speak as if his character would do, his way of play it’s inspiring. Like a good paladin he helps weak NPC, he complete his promises and fight with evil creatures until death (actually he use his body as a shield for us). Also, basically he is the only reason why we are doing the campaign of the DM (he offer him self to protect a lady while we are moving his to another safer location).
  • B is really indecisive (maybe a bit like me, but I don’t start speaking randomly when I don’t know what to do). Sometimes he has some interesting ideas using his druid’s spells but it’s difficult for him explain that ideas. He is the most charismatic person in the group but he almost never talk (and when he do it he has really bad rolls). Also, I am not sure if this is his natural behaviour or if he was depressed by his bad rolls, but in the last session he get drunk (his PC not himself), cast a destructive spell randomly “because of his drunkness” and killed C… he always do roleplaying in the worst situations…
  • C is interesting, great part of time he is wishpering (secret chat) with the DM (I know that because sometimes they forget to use the whisper command) and he do strange but also interesting actions (like try to take a raven and discover actually they were 3 druids, try to steal a horse, get an arrow shot, be killed by B and all of us be kicked and banished from the tavern… all in the same hour, when our actual mission was get some information of a certain person).

Okay, that was our team description. The problem or curious thing I note is that A is always moving or leading the group with his perfect roleplaying, we are the 80% of time following him, while he is talking with an NPC we are just looking around the place, and when he want to do something (kill some harpies or defend a lady) we follow his command, willing (like me), or unwilling (like B).

But, when A isn’t present (2 of the 5 sessions) the session get slower, the DM explain the situation and… we don’t answer, we aren’t sure what to do, our only reason to protect the lady is that A convinced us, he has the plan, not us (also, in the same day he wasn’t present we reach our destination so we wasn’t sure what to do at next). Because no one was doing something and the silence was getting longer I felt the responsibility/obligation of keep moving the session in order to not get stuck, and I tried to do my best, but it was difficult, I don’t use to talk so much and try to give orders to people that are’t willing to obey me or has different opinions.

Luckily, in the first time I managed to move them to a shop place, and the DM used the rest of the session’s time to sell items. But in the second time, I barely move them to a tavern and I get exhausted, they started doing stupid and unproductive things (well, B had an interesting idea, talk to the drunk people in order to gather information, sadly, he also got drunk) while I was trying to get some information, while at the same time NPC weren’t willing to give me that information and they started looking us (with a focus on me) in an uncomfortable way.

My question is: Is it normal that there is always one PC designated to lead the whole party (talk with NPC, gather information, give orders, etc)? Also, in the case that “the leader” isn’t present, How can I (as player) encourage the others PCs to keep moving in the campaign and not get stuck or do unproductive actions?

Would a person affected by Hypnotic Gaze scream for help?

The level 2 Wizard Enchantment tradition feature, Hypnotic Gaze, does the following:

Starting at 2nd level when you choose this school, your soft words and enchanting gaze can magically enthrall another creature. As an action, choose one creature that you can see within 5 feet of you. If the target can see or hear you, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your wizard spell save DC or be charmed by you until the end of your next turn. The charmed creature’s speed drops to 0, and the creature is incapacitated and visibly dazed.

Would a person affected by Hypnotic Gaze scream for help?

From my reading of the ability, there is nothing preventing the charmed creature from realizing its condition and screaming for help.

Are there any monsters or items that can trap a person in a time loop?

I’m working on a D&D campaign where a town is stuck in a time loop. my players can do whatever and the day doesn’t repeat exactly; every day is a different day, the sun revolves around the planet and monday ends and tuesday begins, but the townsfolk are stuck doing the exact things they did the day they were cursed and are trapped repeating what they did over and over until the curse/enchantment/spell is broken. The townspeople are unable to interact with the players.

I’m straying from my point heavily but are there any monsters or items that could trap a person in a time loop?

Can destroy water completely dehydrate a person?

The human body contains approximately 60% water on average. (According to this site). The spell “create/destroy water” states “You destroy up to 10 gallons of water in an open container within range.” In addition, “When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you create or destroy 10 additional gallons of water”. A gallon of water weighs roughly 8.35 pounds (according to this site).

Say there’s a human who weighs 200 pounds. 60% of 200 is 120 – approximately 120 pounds of water are in this person. dividing 120 by 8.35 = around 14 – so those 120 pounds of water are, in other words, around 14 gallons. The destroy water spell can destroy up to 20 gallons.

According to these measurements, “destroy water” could theoretically completely dehydrate a 200 lb human.

The biggest argument against this in my eyes is that the water must be in an “open container”. However, the human body is technically the container of the water. Thus, if a barbarian takes a big slash across the torso, resulting in a large open wound, the wounded human may, technically, count as an “open container”.

Now, the 64 million dollar question – would “destroy water” dehydrate a human with an open wound, removing all water from their body and instantly killing them?

Can the Mage Hand Spell do somatic components if the person who cast it doesn’t have a free hand?

A wizard casts the Mage Hands spell. They then pick up a short sword and a shield. They then want to cast Burning Hands against an opponent. Can they use the active Mage Hand to provide the somatic component for it?

If you don’t remember how Mage Hand works go here: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Mage%20Hand#content