Can I assume that not doing anything, allowing multiple independent clients behind a defaulted firewall/router, will work? Just not optimally?
Yeah, it's fine. Especially if you're not generating coins. I'm somewhat superstitious about what does and does not affect bitcoins being generated since it's hard to measure. Being connected to 8 peers shouldn't be detrimental, but it always feels detrimental to me. I just started using -connect=<IP Address> while I've temporarily got a half decent second machine and it just feels better.