Here's my latest take on zero-level play.
Each player starts with 4-6 guys, and you just roll on 2 tables for each guy and start playing. The rest gets fleshed out as you go along.
One thing thats nice about this is you don't get a situation where a player likes the high stats of one of his zero-level guys, so he decides to hide that guy in the back in order to survive to 1st level. In order to advance, you MUST PLAY THE GUY, and try stuff out that brings all of the abilities into play.
For combat, I figure I'd just use a d6 for each guy. A 6 is a hit for those guys with makeshift weapons like rolling pins and such. A 5 or a 6 is a hit for the guys that acquire actual weapons. Then it's simple for a player to just roll a handful of d6s for all his dudes.
I'll give an update if I ever get around to trying this out at the table, but I like it on paper.