A Day in the Limelight: The game has an episodic structure in the style of a TV series, where each of the episodes puts one of the Red Crayon Aristocrats into the highlight.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: If you unlock the four-leaf clover door, you get to dress Jennifer up in a variety of outfits, such as a French maid or an octopus. Brown also gets a costume change for some of them.
Each costume also comes with a built-in one-hit super-weapon. See also New Game Plus.
Animal Motifs: Many chapters have one, and they reflect on the enemies; there are rabbit imps, bird imps, goat imps, rat imps and pig imps.
Different characters also have animal associations: Diana is a rat, Meg is a goat, Eleanor is a bird, Amanda is a pig, etc.
Arc Words: Gathered slowly through three chapters: Everlasting / True Love / I am yours.
Ax Crazy: Stray Dog aka Gregory M. Wilson and Wendy.
Blog: While many fandoms have an online place where they discuss the work in question, Rule of Rose Mysteries takes it to a completely different level, deconstructing the game, analyzing the characters, and piecing together the story.
Banned In China: The UK release was postponed indefinitely after the newspapers picked up on a moral panic story about it in the Italian press of all places, alleging that sexual contact between minors takes place in the game. While those allegations are dubious at best, Schoolgirl Lesbians of the (chaste) Romantic Two-Girl Friendship sort are a major theme, though it was likely ultimately banned because of the adult characters doing harm to minors. (See below.)
Controllable Helplessness: Both times Jennifer is tied up, you can make her struggle. The second time, you have to make her call for Brown's help.
Creepy Child: Joshua and the majority of the children at some point.
Cry for the Devil: After playing the epilogue, you'll feel deeply sorry for the two people largely responsible for all the bad things that happened in the story - Wendy and Gregory. It's utterly heartwrenching to watch Wendy silently plead for you to stay when you know it's impossible, and listen to Gregory trying to put together a happy story to read to his dead son.
Dog Walks You: The majority of the game is spent following Brown to one place or another.
Dummied Out: A couple of costumes and some voice acting, indicating that the game would have had more chapters, but the developers ran out of time and money.
Elaborate University High: Well, in this case, Elaborate Orphanage - inside an airship the size of the Hindenburg. Oh, As it turns out, this is ultimately subverted, as the airship orphanage is a mixture of the memories of the most traumatic portions of Jennifer's life.
It's still rather amazing. Compared to the number of the orphans and the minimal staff, the manor in which the orphanage is actually set is still huge and extremely fancy - apart from the parts that the kids have doodled over or trashed.
However, it looks realistically as if people live in it(as opposed to the spotlessness of the common Elaborate University High), with most of the rooms being used as storage.
Everything Talks: Inanimate objects, such as scissors, speak to the protagonist every now and then.
Fairytale Motifs: The game lives and breathes these, and goes out of its way to break them at every turn.
Fake Difficulty: The game's sub-par combat system and lack of any semblance of a targeting system makes combat harder than it should be.
The lack of targeting can be explained by the fact that Jennifer simply doesn't have the most basic fighting skills - when she fights with a one-handed weapon she's seen covering her eyes while striking! The poor hit-detection and stiff movement controls on the other hand are inexcusable.
Harmful to Minors: It is strongly implied that Hoffman raped Clara and touched Diana inappropriately. However, Jennifer is an unreliable narrator, and many Alternative Character Interpretations and arguments have sprung up because of them. The main difficulty in interpreting is Jennifer's ability to recognize the signs of abuse; what Jennifer sees during the game does pretty strongly imply something was going on, but is it something that Jennifer suspects in retrospect and 'remembers', or is she remembering it clearly but not seeing it as unusual?
Hide Your Children: After the final boss fight, when Jennifer walks outside of the orphanage, instead of seeing the bodies of all the children, she only sees their clothes.
I'm a Humanitarian: References in Gregory's journal suggest that he killed and ate children.
Infinity+1 Sword: While all of the weapons associated with the ridiculous costumes are powerful, the weapon that fits this trope best is the rusty sword. In order to receive it, five fancy, easily missable dessert knives must be gathered from the various chapters, and traded for a key to a secret door that the player has most likely overlooked or forgotten about by the time they receive the means to unlock it.
What makes this worse? You have to use each of the knives with Brown to find the next one, in order, however if you lack the previous knife, you will lose the one for that month and all others after. The kicker? There is a point in the game where you are allowed to choose three months to play in whatever order you like, but if you do not play them in the correct order, you will end up in a month whose knife is found by using a knife from a LATER month. None of these are replayable until you finish the game and hit New Game Plus.
Highlights of the story: Jennifer constantly passing out and waking up, the Gingerbread House section which is a flashback, events that have already occurred occurring again, Gregory randomly appearing and walking off, Hoffman dying and coming back to life, and the ending making it ambiguous as to whether or not it was All Just a Dream.
Shown Their Work: The developers spent quite some time researching the fears of both adults and children, and what do they fear the most about the other.
Social Services Does Not Exist: Justified; what social services there were in depression-era England were very busy and did not have time to look in on every single rural orphanage.
There Are No Adults: Even at the start the orphanage was heavily understaffed, but by the end the orphans were left to their own devices for an indeterminate out of time after Hoffman, Martha and Clara disappeared without trace.
Except that he was in charge from the start. He just developed in a twisted direction. There's a mention at the final chapter of how Hoffman used to be a kind and respectable teacher.
Two-Teacher School: Just one teacher, plus a cleaning lady and a sixteen-year-old girl who acts as a makeshift nurse and all around helper.
Unreliable Narrator: Unreliable because Jennifer has amnesia, and the events as depicted in the story are a conglomeration of half-recalled events and traumatic incidents.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The whole game is rife with a bizarre, surrealist aesthetic that involves, among other things, roses, butterflies, mermaids, stick figure drawings, imps and dead fish floating in mid-air. Not quite all of it makes sense.
To elaborate: the rule of children is about the lack of an authority figure to teach them right from wrong, the fact that there are no boys in the Red Crayon Aristocrats is to do with sexism and rape, all the characters have a Meaningful Name, and roses are actually a symbol of lesbians. No, really.