This is actually something that came up IMS recently and took quite a bit of back and forth to work out our stance on it. Obviously this is just our particular interpretation and YSMV.
The scenario: Magus has commissioned enchanted an item that allows him to control a simulacrum of himself from afar (well, a magically preserved corpse - but "simulacrum" sounds nicer). He can scry to see and hear at the location of the simulacrum, control its movements, and project his voice out of it.
The question: If the magus sends the simulacrum to speak with a mundane, are they influenced by his (blatant) gift?
We came up with a few possible answers:
- The gift is something that requires proximity to the magus, so no. The corollary is that the gift will have an effect on people physically near a magus, with or without direct interaction.
- The gift is triggered by interaction with the magus, so yes. No matter the distance or method if you are communicating with the magus directly in real time the gift factors in. But this also means that even in person the gift doesn't trigger unless the magus directly interacts with someone.
- The gift is triggered by the presence of the magus, so yes. The gift doesn't require the magus to be physically present, just present in an abstract sense. The magus speaking at the location and scrying on it makes them "present" enough for the gift to count. Logically this would also mean a magus scrying on people or controlling an animal or similar from afar might give people an unsettled feeling as they are "present" for that too.
Personally I liked #3 for the story utility of people being able to "sense" something off when being scryed on etc. but in the end we compromised and went for #1, physical proximity, with the addition of this house rule:
Any enchanted item, spell, or object animated by spell effects which amount to a powerful mystical effect, or which is highly unnatural, is treated as having the Magical Air flaw. In general this will only be relevant if the item/spell/spell target is used to interact socially with mundanes or animals but if appropriate it may be used in other circumstances at the discretion of the storyguide.
The end result in our saga is that the Gift requires the physical presence of the magus, but most magical means to "evade" the social penalty of the gift are so magical or unnatural that they cause the same reaction as the gift would anyway. There is a niche use for these effects because they are still beneficial to those with a blatant gift (a -3 penalty is better than a -6!). For magi with the gentle gift they actually make things slightly worse.