I think your posited tenet is contentious.When we are talking D&D-like RPG's there's a particular tenet that the players control their character and they the GM controls the world. If that premise is accepted as a requirement for the desired style of game then there's not much (any?) room left for anything other than linear or sandbox style play.
Rolemaster is a D&D-like RPG. I quoted extensively from its 1984 Campaign Law upthread. That envisages important degrees of player authority over backstory at the point of PC building.
AD&D OA is a D&D-like RPG. It is not as clear in its wording as RM, but it also envisages players getting involved in backstory authorship as part of the process of establishing their family, its relationships, who their PC's master is (if a martial artist), etc. Yakuza's in that game also have a "contact" ability which lets them establish, during play, that their PC knows someone useful.
Gygax, in his DMG, only provides one example of a player attempting exercise authority over backstory - in the context of a PC establishing a stronghold - and says that the GM should say "yes" given that what the player suggests is generally consistent with the established fiction concerning that particular bit of the setting.
But in any event, your conclusion wouldn't follow.
A sandbox is a game in which backstory is prior to, and yields, situation. The "bridge" from backstory to situation is player action declarations that "activate" latent situations (eg I go down the street to the temple. Who's there?). (I've explained this in more detail upthread so won't repeat myself here, but am happy to explain again if you would like.)
A "linear" adventure is a game in which backstory and situation are both pre-authored, and the "bridge" is simply GM fiat. Thus player action declarations make no difference to which situations are narrated.
"Node-based" design is a variation on linear design - backstory and situation are preauthored, but the players' choices affect the sequence of activation. Unlike a sandbox, though, there is an expectation that all the "nodes" will be "activated", and each "node" is designed (eg via the "3 clue rule") so as to lead the players to declare an action that will "activate" another node.
But in my view (I think @Ovinomancer disagrees at least a bit, and maybe a lot) there is nothing intrinsic to D&D that requires establishing backstory upfront like this. It is possible to GM D&D in a way that puts situation first. This does not require the GM relinquishing any significant control over backstory. It does require having ways to resolve action declarations without needing established backstory as "inputs" - that's easy most of the time but can be trickier for Perception and Knowledge-type checks. But as I already posted upthread, I don't think that's an insuperable problem. (Maybe Investigation skill really does get cast to the four winds on this approach, but that seems like a small sacrifice to make.)
And just to reiterate: this is not theorycraft. This is speaking from the experience of having run AD&D and RM in this way.
There's the elaboration above.I only have the vaguest notion of what you mean here. Care to elaborate?pemerton said:I've run AD&D quite successfully using shared backstory authority (especially in PC build, but also the GM taking suggestions from players on the way through) and GM authority over situation/scene-framing.
I don't see why 5e D&D couldn't be run the same way if a group wanted to do so.
The AD&D play I'm thinking of is mostly 30-odd years ago, so my memory is not perfect. But the sorts of situations I used included opportunities for hijinks in the Keep on the Borderlands (an all-thieves game) that turned into a crusade against evil cultists - I established backstory as necessary to support framing and resolution (eg that the wife of the mayor of Critwall was a member of the cult).
In the OA game I remember encountering an Ogre castle high in the mountains, and having social interaction with them - to what ultimate end I can't remember anymore.
I also remember a game with characters doing stuff in the Gnarley forest - maybe dealing with bandits?
D&D makes improvising situation fairly easy, because it has many many books full of monsters, NPCs, maps, etc.
(I've also used the approach I describe playing 4e D&D, but because some people think it's not a D&D-like game I'm using AD&D and RM as my examples.)