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It follows the distribution of skill points in D&D 3rd edition. The rogue has the most trained skills in D&D 4th edition because it also had the most skill points in D&D 3rd edition (8 per level; 3e had more individual skills than 4e). This in turn goes back to the original thief class as it appeared in the supplement Greyhawk (1976), which was ...


Your assessment is correct. Class balance and skill balance are the two major factors. If we assume that the designers aimed to make balanced classes, then making a class better at something means it has to be worse at something else. Skills are just one part of how classes are different, a class that is good at one aspect (combat? spell variety? hit die?) ...

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