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The Remorhaz (page 258 MM) has an ability called Heated Body:

Heated Body. A creature that touches the remorhaz or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 10 (3d6) fire damage.

How often does this damage occur, and what exactly is the scope of qualifying scenarios where this would trigger?

If another creature A is grappling the remorhaz, does damage only occur on creature A's turn, only on the remorhaz's turn, once per round, multiple times in a round?

Also, if a creature touches the remorhaz, damage occurs, but what happens if the remorhaz touches the creature? The damage from Heated Body is included in the remorhaz's Bite attack, but not in its Swallow ability. Will the creature swallowed by the remorhaz take 6d6 acid damage + 3d6 fire damage (since the creature is touching the remorhaz inside of it), or only the acid damage?

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Rhemorhaz Trait: Heated Body MM Pg.258

Heated Body: A creature that touches the remorhaz or hits it with a melee Attack while within 5 feet of it takes 10 (3d6) fire damage.

Special Traits MM pg.11

Special traits (which appear after a monster’s challenge rating but before any actions or reactions) are characteristics that are likely to be relevant in a Combat encounter and that require some explanation.

If you notice, the MM states that a special trait is listed before actions and reactions, seperating it from the two - it is neither considered an action nor a reaction. This means that every melee attack connected with the creature would trigger this effect. So, a fighter with multiattack would trigger the counter damage upon each attack, so long as it is a melee attack.

As far as the second part of your question, every time something touches the creature, it would also trigger the effect. So, a grappler who unknowingly grabs hold of this creature would suffer the damage of its ability, however, the grappler would take the damage once, as it has only touched the creature once.

Whether or not the Rhemorhaz Heated Body trait would affect creatures it touches or attacks would probably come down to RAI (Rules As Intended). The developers more than likely intended for this to only act as a counter ability, meaning that any attacks it makes on another creature would not trigger the Heated Body trait, as its attacks have several additional effects of their own. So, the unfortunate victims of the Rhemoraz's swallow attack would merely suffer the 6d6 acid damage, while still painful, it would not be so harsh as another 3d6 fire damage.

Hopefully this clears up your question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if you want to add this in your portion on the acid in the gut, but the heat "radiates out" might be an in-world way to explain why the inner contact does not add the 3d6 on top of the acid. An option, and maybe not the best idea ever. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 24 '17 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Until you read and understand the ecology of the Rhemorhaz (dragon 114) I'd suggest refraining from commenting on what the designers intended. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim B Jun 25 '17 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Arcemius my comment refers to your line "The developers more than likely intended for this to only act as a counter ability, meaning that any attacks it makes on another... " If you have some source on how the creature was designed (since its one of Gygax's early creations) that would be very interesting, or have some other source for design intention, by all means offer it up. Otherwise you're just spouting an assumption you've invented. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim B Jun 25 '17 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Arcemius, at stackexchange sites having an answer accepted doesn't mean much, it simply means the OP is satisfied, the community however may not be (or even agree). As you explore the various sites, you will notice that the accepted answer is factually wrong, but usually (over time) the correct answer has more upvotes. Welcome to the site. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim B Jun 26 '17 at 13:51
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In general, within any area effect and persistent damage, you suffer the damage once per round. Meanwhile, with any touch or contact based attack form, such as a monk touching a lava monster or a fencing bard stabbing a lightning creature, the opportunity to suffer damage is proportionate to the number of attacks.

if you suffer damage by approaching the creature, then the damage is per round, if you suffer damage by contacting the creature, then the damage is per attack. The creature description is listed as damage per attack, not damage per round. Treat it as briefly touching an electric fence.

With regard to the swallowed creature, the damage listed can be used without adding more damage, using the electricity analogy again, treat the swallowed creature as if grounded/in a Faraday cage, so unless the text explicitly lists the swallow/acid damage as adding additional heat damage, don't.

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