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As a bolded term, it refers to the "NPC Bonuses" table in the back of the document. Consider it either that bonus applied to the player character, or that player character having a reliable NPC connection with the bonus.

Okay, I was thinking that was the case. And all of the other tags, such as hardy or uncouth, just apply situational modifiers when appropriate?

Yes. Any tags, descriptors, items, or other "modifiers" should simply be leveraged as they make sense in the context of what's happening and what's reasonable.