Q: Dear Sage,
If a knight makes a fighting challenge (Player’s Handbook II, 25) to a opponent, will that opponent get in harm's way to get to the knight? If the enemy stands behind a portcullis, would he raise the portcullis to attack even if it would mean letting the knight and his allies inside the room where he is well protected?
A: First of all, the fighting challenge doesn’t provoke an opponent to attack you -- it just grants you a bonus on Will saves, attack rolls, and damage rolls against the target.
Technically speaking, even the test of mettle (PHB II, 26) doesn’t force a foe to attack you -- it just forces the foe to attack you “in preference over other available targets.” Specifically, this means that if the target attacks, he must target you with the attack or include you in the effect’s area.
If the target doesn’t want to attack you, he doesn’t have to attack at all.
Alternatively, the enemy in your example could just pull out a ranged weapon and attack you -- melee attacks aren’t mandated by the test of mettle.
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The Sage is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central and southern China. Debate continues as to whether he is truly a bear or more related to the raccoon rather than the bear, or perhaps in a family of his own. When not eating bamboo and answering rules questions, he works under the nom de plume of Andy Collins as an RPG developer in Wizards of the Coast R&D, where his development credits include Complete Mage, Dragon Magic, and the Player's Handbook v.3.5. He can be easily recognized by his large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears and on his rotund body.