April 9th, 2010.
I'll just give a brief description of the battles, and then a small discussion.
Luckily, these weren't encountered together. Without a cleric, the undead Bodak seemed to pose a real challenge, even if it was alone. With damage reduction and energy resistance and immunity, it was quite an interesting monster. The save or die effect caused everyone to try to avert their eyes to circumvent the gaze attack, which nobody succumbed to. This was a random encounter that followed (Kobold, Desert), which actually made things interesting. They had camped near the nomadic kobolds, and it was their dying in the middle of the night that alerted the PCs to the Bodak's presence.
Once they got to the ruins, the next big battle was against a beholder. They had never fought a beholder before, and it was interesting how things turned out. When it came down to it, Kascannia the elf fighter made all 10 saving throws vs the eye stalks, which I'm certain she was thankful for. The arcane trickster was able to get two lightning bolts cast, which hurt the beholder the most.
So, my question to you is: what do you think of save or die effects? In this case, it was all save and no die. It could have gone the other way around, but for a group of level 12 PCs, I think a beholder in some ways doesn't pose much of a threat. And the damage reduction of the bodak was easily overcome by brute force. A group of either of them would have posed a more serious challange I think.