Mmm, I was under the impression the reason that bull's strength and a belt of strength didn't stack was because they were both typed enhancement modifiers, but point well enough taken.
So that said, the pearls are nice on their own, but not actually useful for what I had in mind. Basically the reason I'm trying to sneak around this is not so much an optimisation attempt (as I'm on the whole pretty bad at that to be honest — just look at my skill selection after all), but that I am loathe to use spells for basic defence here. I have enough slots more or less, and the real problem for me as I see it is that, as mentioned, combat has the potential to slow down pbp games to a crawl, and I really don't want to spend the first one or two rounds of every combat just putting up defensive spells that honestly are less useful anyhow than just making sure party cooperation is good.
Doubly so for an internet game where mostly what I'm after is less the mechanics-y bits — if I wanted that I'd go for an entirely different system anyhow — but the RP-y bits, which is why I avoided attack spells as well. Battlefield support and control in my experience just allows me more options and interesting possibilities to write for, for the mixed reasons of more often is going on, and that I have more flexibility in what I can put up before GM feedback.
Okay, all those words words words aside, given that there is no way in hell I'm managing a decent pair of bracers on a budget, I think I'll just scratch trying to get AC to something reasonable. The extra survivability is not worth the threat to my motivation in posting. People drop out of games way more often than characters die, in my experience.
But yay on the other things — thanks. They didn't look too unbalanced, which is why I didn't mind grabbing them and asking permission afterwards, and it fit a lot better with my character image. I'll think about gear a bit more and make the necessary modifications there.