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Assuming:

If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead. (PBR, p. 36; PHB, p. 126)

A Tabaxi Rogue with the Criminal Background has the following skill proficiencies:

  • Racial (Tabaxi): Stealth and Perception
  • Class (Rogue): Four from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth.
  • Background (Criminal): Deception and Stealth.

With this in mind I'm looking at a build with the following proficiencies:

  1. Stealth (racial)
  2. Perception (racial)
  3. Acrobatics (class)
  4. Intimidation (class)
  5. Persuasion (class)
  6. Investigation (class)
  7. Deception (background)
  8. Sleight of Hand (background/Dex substitute for Stealth)

Is this valid by RAW?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Thanks for you question. Check out the tour and the help center to see how to get the most from a Q&A site, and have fun. (As an aside, and a long time rogue/thief player, I hope you enjoy your tabaxi rogue) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 21 at 21:37
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Yes: those proficiency choices are supported by RAW

From the Basic Rules, and the same section in the PHB:

Proficiencies

If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead. (Basic Rules, p. 38)

Thus you can pick the other background skill proficiency to make up for an overlap/duplicate. Your 8 skill proficiencies, as you presented, is supported by RAW.

Additional point on customization

You can customize a background per the PHB/RAW

Customizing a Background

You might want to tweak some of the features of a background so it better fits your character or the campaign setting. To customize a background, you can replace one feature with any other one, choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample backgrounds. You can either use the equipment package from your background or spend coin on gear as described in chapter 5. (PHB p. 125).

I have found, from both sides of the table, that a collobrative workup of the background/back story between DM and player makes for a good fit between the player and the campaign.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome. At first blush 8 proficiencies seemed high, but I'm stumbling on builds that have 18! \$\endgroup\$ – Dre May 21 at 21:31
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Dre Yeah, we have a Q&A that shows how high it can get. This answer shows how you can get 13 by level 4. The big deal is Rogue, who starts with 4, and Bards who also get lots of skills proficiency add ons. And another max illustration. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 21 at 21:32

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