I made some controls for myself before that were just poses using set driven key. Then I could move say a cube near the shoulder and it would move forward, back, or whatever, controlling all the joints in the shoulder area to move properly. That worked great, but then when I try to actually animate anything, then it doesn't work right.
Eventually I just deleted all of the attributes controlling things because it kept causing problems. It's a character for a game and won't need super complicated animations so I really don't want to go with an IK rig, I want to use mostly FK but what would be ideal is to be able to pose it with the controls I made before then fine tune it by directly manipulating the joint rotation.
No one else will ever use the rig, so it doesn't have to be 'unbreakable' or limit motion or any of that stuff that all the books seem obsessed with. It just has to be able to move in the directions I want using more than one joint at a time for areas like spine and shoulders or else it will make things much slower. On the other hand, I don't want to spend weeks coming up with some ideal rig, either. But I am good with scripting in general so it doesn't have to be completely boneheadedly simple solution, either.