During Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, there are a number of faction missions, one of which is:
“The Zhents are courting a Red Wizard of Thay named Esloon Bezant, trying to add his gang of thugs to their ranks. All we know about him is that he fled his homeland a few years back and is too smart to get caught doing anything illegal. He and his gang of bullies prowl the Dock Ward. Scuttle the deal, and do it fast!”
With a suggested solution:
The characters can create a rift between the Zhentarim and Esloon’s gang by sowing rumors of betrayal. They must spend 25 gp in bribes and succeed on a DC 16 Charisma (Deception or Persuasion) check. Conversely, they can confront Esloon Bezant (LE male Thayan human mage) and his gang of five thugs and either defeat them or bribe them with at least 500 gp. Reward: Each Lords’ Alliance character gains 2 renown. The characters can also deprive Esloon of his spellbook, which contains all the spells he has prepared.
Given that a suggested solution involves the party spending money and checks of a given DC.
The party's solution was:
Attempt to use minor illusion to lure Esloon to get him on his own in an alley and murder him. Two level 4 PCs against a wizard of Thay. Unwise. I was happy to run that, mitigating a TPK with a mugging, not killing, but the PC wasn't close enough to kick that off. So they ended up regrouping and trying using message to send a message as "a Zhent", when asked which Zhent? with what voice? with what name? what details of the deal/meeting are you using? and realised how little information they had, trailed off. They then recognised Davil and messaged him. The whole plan was a mess, but really, Elsson and Davil both wouldn't trust each other based on the amateur hour show from the party, so both went their separate ways.
So, while fun, roleplay not rollplay, but without paying or using checks, the party seem to have solved the requirements of the mission.
What are the issues with not charging/challenging the players in this case? Are there any compelling reasons to force the party to follow the suggested, published solutions closer?