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Rogues can use ranged weapons to make sneak attacks. Also, the rogue rules state that:

You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Does this mean that basically a ranged rogue can stand back and sneak attack opponents every turn as his buddies are fighting with them on the front line? Did I miss some rule about shooting into melee or does that sound pretty mighty?

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Yes, rogues can sneak attack at range pretty effectively.

You're reading the rules right, and all a ranged rogue needs for sneak attack is an ally's adjacency. (Actually, an enemy-of-my-enemy's adjacency, not necessarily an ally.)

Shooting in to melee...

may, at your GMs discretion, call cover into question. Review PHB p. 196: intervening combatants might grant your target +2 or +5 AC, or might make them untargetable (total cover).

Personally, I'm pretty liberal about throwing that +2 AC around during combat (in both directions), but pretty stingy on the higher penalties. As long as it's well-known ahead of time my players haven't seemed to mind. (And I'm very clear about applying it to enemies.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ My wife is currently playing a ranged rogue and loves this benefit. However, because she is often shooting through her melee companions I always let her know bad roles could result in harm to them. Now whenever she rolls a 1, the melee groan and ask which one of them just got shot. Good fun! \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C May 8 '18 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Getting the Sharpshooter Feat will mitigate all of that as you ignore penalties to cover except for full cover, and since you no longer get a disadvantage for shooting beyond short range, you can be way back of the room, and as long as your allies are in melee, you get sneak attack, and they do not get any AC bonus. \$\endgroup\$ – Grond Aug 7 at 16:03
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Yes, and it's strong but not imbalanced

nitsua60 has covered the mechanical aspects of this well - so I wanted to add an answer to address this aspect of your question:

Did I miss some rule about shooting into melee or does that sound pretty mighty?

Being able to sneak attack every turn is good - but it's also what Rogues are balanced around. Every other non-full-spellcasting class has Extra attack and further features to boost damage (Barbarian: rage, Fighter: more attacks, Paladin: smites, Monk: more attacks, Ranger: Hunter's Mark and various subclass boosts like Volley). The Rogue only has Sneak Attack. If they aren't getting one off every turn, they fall behind all these classes in damage.

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Does this mean that basically a ranged rogue can stand back and sneak attack opponents every turn as his buddies are fighting with them on the front line?

Yes, this is exactly right. I've heard these flavor explanations for the rogue's sneak attack:

  • Sneak attack granted from advantage is probably what you're thinking of based on the label "sneak" attack, especially since being properly hidden grants advantage on attack. The rogue gets bonus damage because of their own superior stealth/positioning.
  • The combination of "another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll" is less about the rogue being hidden and more about the target being distracted by another enemy in their face. The rogue is just using the chaos of combat to get bonus damage.
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You can do that

You are able to just sit back and use your sneak attack with your bow every round as long as your buddies are in melee with the enemy or if you qualify for any of the other requirements to use sneak attack.

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I would beg to differ on these answers as the only ranged "finesse" weapons in the game are a dagger and a dart. While; yes in theory, you can stand back and ranged sneak attack; you would not be able to do it every turn as you cant carry that many daggers or darts. Also being that a dagger and dart do the least dmg of all weapon damages, it does not keep up with the dmg of other classes. Rogues because compete-able in that they are a highly trained and skilled class. Allowing a rogue to use any weapon beyond the finesse weapons would b in essence cheating.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is incorrect. Sneak attack states, "The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon". A ranged weapon without finesse is suitable for sneak attack since sneak attack does not require the weapon to be both finesse and ranged, just one of finesse or ranged. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jun 23 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sneak attack requires a weapon with finesse or a ranged weapon: \$\endgroup\$ – Grinton Jun 23 at 16:02

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