Matthias, the angel-faced boy, faces many of the same problems as his grandfather, the thrice-emperor Kuno. Faction after faction forms against him, but unlike his grandfather, he manages to keep them in check and hold onto his crown. Once he's of age, one of the first things he does is increase his own authority, allowing him to revoke the kingdom of West Frankia from its rebellious queen and hand it to someone more loyal. In spite of this initial instability, the first twenty years of Matthias II's reign are relatively quiet ones.
But Matthias is a canny ruler and soon an opportunity to expand the empire presents itself that's too good to pass up. Remember Sweden?
Its borders have changed somewhat since those days, but it continues to be scattered all over the map in Matthias II's time.
Now, Matthias had nine children with his wife Mauda, but due to ill luck in battle (I had not yet found the button to keep your heirs out of battle in CKIII), his oldest sons had died. His daughter, also named Mauda, was eligible for marriage, so Matthias sought out a matrilineal arrangement--meaning that any children the marriage produced would belong to House Karling (Mauda's house) and not her husband's family. This would ensure that in the specific case where Mauda were to succeed to the throne, her heirs would still be of House Karling (which is essential to continuing the game in Crusader Kings.) And in the general case, there would be plenty more Karlings, if needed. Matthias arranges a marriage between Mauda and a Swedish prince, who just happened to carry a claim on the kingdom of Sweden.
Now, if you press a claim for an unlanded noble in your court and win, that noble leaves your court to go rule that land independently. But, if that noble happens to be your vassal, and the claim you press on their behalf is of equal or lower rank to the highest rank they hold, they remain your vassal and their new lands become your new lands.
So Matthias prepares a present for his new son-in-law: the kingdom of Sardinia. No sooner had his son-in-law been crowned, than Matthias declared war on Sweden to press his claim. The armies of the German empire marched right up to the Swedish capital and captured the king. In the end, it took more time to raise the armies than to fight the war.
Sweden had territory in Ireland, in England, on the Iberian peninsula, in North Africa, on the Bosporus. I like to imagine that every few months, someone in Matthias's court discovers the title to a new county. Now, can he (and more importantly, his heirs) hold onto it all?
Some other fun details from the early reign of Matthias II:
The conquest of Sweden was the big story, but this one holds sentimental value for me:
Matthias and Mauda had a very sweet relationship, in refreshing contrast to Kuno's womanizing ways:
And Frei Körper-Kultur is alive and well in Magdeburg: