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Swashbuckler rogues' Rakish Audacity feature lets them attack a lone target with Sneak Attack, as long as they don't have disadvantage (XGtE, p. 47):

You also gain an additional way to use your Sneak Attack; you don't need advantage on the attack roll to use your Sneak Attack against a creature if you are within 5 feet of it, no other creatures are within 5 feet of you, and you don't have disadvantage on the attack roll. All the other rules for Sneak Attack still apply to you.

Inquisitive rogues' Insightful Fighting Feature lets them gain insight on a target and use Sneak Attack against them as well, as long as they don't have disadvantage (XGtE, p. 46):

As a bonus action, you can make a Wisdom (Insight) check against a creature you can see that isn't incapacitated, contested by the target's Charisma (Deception) check. If you succeed, you can use your Sneak Attack against that target even if you don't have advantage on the attack roll, but not if you have disadvantage on it.

A player of mine raised a good point. Swashbucklers specifically say All the other rules for Sneak Attack still apply to you, meaning you still need to use finesse/ranged weapons. The Inquisitive rogue doesn't say so. While I'm pretty sure they still require finesse/ranged weapons, I'm actually wondering whether I am correct.

Is there any reason for this wording difference? Or should we just assume the remainder of Sneak Attack conditions still apply?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While the question is phrased like a "designer reasons" question, what it's actually asking is basically just "Does the Inquisitive rogue's Insightful Fighting feature failing to mention that other Sneak Attack rules still apply mean Inquisitives can Sneak Attack without finesse/ranged weapons?" If this is the case, it might be better to edit the question to ask it that way directly in the title. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 8 '18 at 7:02
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Inquisitive rogues still follow all the other rules for Sneak Attack

Nothing in the class feature says they don't follow the other rules, so they still do.

Trying to figure out why the 5e designers used specific wording in a given location and not in others is an exercise in futility, but in this case I would wager it is because of the length of the exceptions to the rules present.

The Swashbuckler has a lengthy, multi-part condition to allow a completely new way to Sneak Attack (in addition to the 2 all Rogues start with), and by the end you could easily expect it to list all of the rules you need to follow; the bolded text explains that this isn't so and the other rules still apply.

The Inquisitive's exception is more straightforward; you replace the requirement "Need Advantage" with "Pass the check". Since there are fewer words and rules mentioned, a reader is less likely to assume that all the other rules are overridden.

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