Last session my players:
lvl 7 human fighter with a greatsword
lvl 7 human rogue with Rapier and shortsword
lvl 7 elf ranger using a bow
lvl 7 elf sorceress mostly with blasting spells
lvl 6 half fiend orc fighter with a falchion (CR 6 by PF rules)
lvl 7 half orc cleric with chaos and evil domains (CR 5 by PF rules)
about 20ish standard Orcs (no idea, they were here as fodder :) )
I must mention that fight was not balanced.
One of the players almost got killed (he got stable at -13 with Con score of 14). They had hard time defeating these guys. Only one critical was dealt to the players (not hard with a 18-20 falchion).
Sorceress kept failing the SR check of the half-fiend, but the PC fighter kept passing all the saves from spells cast on him by the Orc Cleric so I would say it was fair.
They fought the Orcs for 3 rounds before two big bosses appeared. More then half of the Orcs got killed in those 3 rounds and rest got finished with a Fireball that hit the two bosses as well. So those orcs didn't play a big role in the combat (they were ment more as round buyers so bosses could cast at least some buffs).
I post this because I had my doubts in the new CR system of NPCs in PF (NPC lvl -2 = CR), and now it was shown to me that I was right.
Players were attacking the orc camp so they were not ambushed or anything.
EDIT: I forgot to mention ranger had Orcs as his first choice for favored enemy. Although he was effective against Orcs I can see a problem when this ranger would fight non favored enemy opponents.
I feel the favored enemy mechanic based on groups of opponents BAD.
So you're saying that the party had a hard time taking out the two NPCs, and that the CR should be higher than is currently the case in the Beta version?
From what I've seen with my players you may be right, but I would like to know what type of problems your players had, and how you would adjust the CRs for NPCs. Could you elaborate a bit for us?
I would put it CR = NPC lvl -1. The previous CR = NPC lvl was not right but the current system is not as well.
I even gave my players extra bonuses (like 32 point buy, ability to second wind once per day, bonus to AC) but they still almost lost.
The fighter character was almost killed as well. If he failed one of the saves they would have lost because he was the biggest damage dealer.
He passed a Shatter spell save for his greatsword and a Hold Person save.
Probably a lack of the healer in this group could be one of the reasons for this. It was not in 3.5e. I often had groups of players without clerics, druids and bards and they all did OK when these opponents would have been CR 8 and CR 7. I would not have sent such an encounter against them.
Well this campaign has continued.
The players are now
Lvl 8 Elf Rogue
Lvl 8 Elf Sorceress
Lvl 8 Human Fighter with a Greatsword
Lvl 8 Elf Ranger (archer)
Lvl 4/4 Dwarf Fighter/Cleric
They have had some battles:
1. Group of evil clerics. Some will saves managed to make the fighter less useful and sorceress was blinded.
2. Evil cleric (BBEG) and an skeleton Ettin.
There was a monk in the group at the time (they were lvl 7 then and no fighter/cleric in the group) who managed to grapple the cleric for almost the whole fight. The only thing Cleric could do was to use Rebuke to damage all living creatures around.
They went through this easily, fighter and ranger killing most enemies
4. 1 Stone Giant
Stone Giant had tactical higher position and was throwing boulders. Fly on the fighter and help from the rangers arrows finished this one fast. One Fireball helped as well
5. Hag Coven + 10 ogres + skeleton hill giant
Easy as well. Once one of the Hags was killed the rest more of less could not hit the party. Fighter again was the most useful and powerful.