Most shapeshifters are at first just truly curious about the strange new creatures that enter their domain. Precocious shapeshifters tend to copy the appearance of a non-shapeshifter and then interact with an individual or the group. They will sometimes temporarily incapacitate the person they are mimicking but they tend not to. When the shapeshifter's trickery is discovered, it will quickly flee. Precocious shapeshifters will avoid combat if at all possible.
A few Precocious shapeshifters with enough self-awareness and empathy will eventually develop a Helpful personality. Such shapeshifters help those who travel through their territory by indicating dangers, food, water, and good campsites. Helpful shapeshifters may have good intentions but they are not always well-equipped to communicate with passerbys because they often have an incomplete understanding of common languages. Additionally, Helpful shapeshifters loathe direct mimicry, instead preferring to create a unique shape based on a combination of many individuals. Because of their ignorance, these form can end up quite strange and disconcerting, like a male Dwarf's head on a Human woman's body. Helpful shapeshifters will help their charges in combat and flee if their charges attack them, but they will rarely hold grudges.
For some Precocious shapeshifters, the fear and desperation that non-shapeshifters feel in reaction to their activities becomes intoxicating. These Mischievous shapeshifters engineer situations to agitate and frighten non-shapeshifters as much as possible, often given rise to legends of haunted or cursed woods. Despite their apparent sadism, Mischievous shapeshifters rarely plan or execute plans that may be lethal to their victims. They reason that too many deaths may scare potential prey away and so rein in some of their more destructive impulses.
Some of the Mischievous eventually grow tired of non-lethal pranks; sometimes they merely seek a stronger and more exquisite form of fear. Other times they find the color of their victims' blood and the taste of their flesh to be even more intoxicating than fear. Almost as often, a Precocious or Helpful suffers great harm from a non-shapeshifter and settles into a vengeful demeanor. All these possibilities can create Malevolent shapeshifters. Malevolents always try to kill. Some do so slowly and methodically, relishing the fear they produce in their victims. Others kill quickly, rampaging through campsites and killing as many as possible before escaping into the night.