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Paladins becoming a Bone Knight lose the services of their paladin mount and gain a skeletal mount instead. The wording seems to restrict the type of mount, allowing only a skeletal warhorse or pony (Eberron: Five Nations, p. 118):

Summon Skeletal Steed (Sp): At 2nd level, you gain the services of a skeletal steed: a heavy warhorse with the skeleton template applied (or a war pony with the skeleton template applied for Small bone knights). You may call this steed in the same fashion as a paladin whose level equals your paladin level plus your bone knight level, and the steed gains the same special abilities as a paladin's special mount at the same effective level. A skeletal steed cannot be turned while its bone knight master rides it.

But previous paladin levels are taken into account in almost every aspect and the wording seems not really extremely explicit about the restriction.

Could this be interpreted as maybe the warhorse and pony being the default, but also allowing different types of mounts (provided the skeletal template is applied), such as a skeletal Pegasus for example? And could allowing that, considering the strengths and weaknesses of the Bone Knight class, still be considered fair and balanced?

PS: Personally, a skeletal warhorse or skeletal pony sound rather useless to me, especially for a paladin that previously owned, say, a unicorn. More than anything, the skeletal template only ruins whatever it is applied to (well, special abilities anyway).

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As written, you get a skeletal war pony if you are Small, and a skeletal heavy warhorse otherwise (including if you are smaller than Small). The feature grants you access to a “skeletal steed,” and then defines it as precisely those two things and nothing else. This is, yes, pretty useless; the paladin special mount is a pretty good feature, and the skeletal creature template adds little to that and takes away most of what made it good. At best, you are a bone knight who isn’t a paladin, and thus this is the only steed you actually have access to—then you might use it. Otherwise, you would probably prefer to use your own special mount, even without bone knight levels stacking with it.

This does seem like a pretty clear case of not having thought everything through, though—the lack of consideration for smaller-than-Small bone knights alone kind of seals that conclusion. It seems likely that the skeletal steed was meant as a pretty significant part of the whole iconic bone knight image: a warrior wielding a weapon and shield of bone, encased in bone, atop a skeletal horse. What we get instead is something that’s likely to be little better than a back-up option.

Bone knight is, despite this, a pretty solid class, or it offers some fairly solid class features, anyway. The benefits of bonecraft armor, and later the exoskeleton of undead, are fairly substantial. On the other hand, it does lose a level of spellcasting—which, for a cleric, might be a dubious trade, as good as the class features are. As DM, I’d be amenable to adapting the bone knight to applying some other, less negative undeath template to the mount, and allowing the same options available to a paladin.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Otherwise, you would probably prefer to use your own special mount, even without bone knight levels stacking with it." the point is though, also, that you specifically lose access to whatever you had gained before, a paladin likely wouldn't get a unicorn for free / without some mini quest or substantial effort \$\endgroup\$ – mtijn Oct 22 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mtijn Ah, point. Yeah, that’s a bummer. Bone knight is, despite appearances, probably far better for a cleric than a paladin. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 22 at 4:45

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